Testimony from a career U.S. diplomat last month described how convincing the Trump administration to agree to provide military aid to Ukraine was confounded by the president’s desire to purchase the island of Greenland.
Ambassador Bill Taylor’s deposition to House impeachment investigators became public this week, and one part of his testimony detailed how he saw President Donald Trump’s obsession with buying Greenland — technically, an autonomous nation that’s part of the Kingdom of Denmark — hampered his and others in the State Department’s efforts to convince the administration that the need for military aid in Ukraine was a higher priority.
Much of the difficulty to speak to administration officials stemmed from logistics, Taylor noted, but some of it also came about as aides within the National Security Council were trying to contain Trump’s idea about buying Greenland, CNN reported.
“The Greenland question…took up a lot of energy in the NSC,” Taylor said.
Aid to Ukraine was held up over the summer due to pressure by Trump to get that country to investigate potential political rivals. In a text message exchange with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Taylor expressed at the time that it was “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
Schiff asked Taylor about his assertion that multiple NatSec officials sought a meeting with Trump to discuss lifting a hold on military aid to #Ukraine but the meeting proved difficult to schedule, because the issue of "purchasing Greenland" took up a lot of energy in the NSC." pic.twitter.com/uzwOmE9xF8
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) November 6, 2019
Details describing Trump’s desire to buy Greenland were revealed in August of this year. The New York Times reported Trump had began questioning whether the buy could happen, joking about it with advisers as early as 2018.
The jokes soon became serious questions, and when the Times report came out, many leaders from around the globe disparaged Trump’s desire to buy the world’s largest island. Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen spoke out about it, too, calling the idea “absurd.”
Her comments resulted in Trump postponing a planned meeting with her.
“Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time,” Trump wrote in a tweet that same month.