The government of Greenland has an answer for Donald Trump after reports that the American president has explored the idea of buying the island from the Danish government — no deal.
After a report on Thursday from The Wall Street Journal claiming that Donald Trump has frequently raised the idea of purchasing Greenland and taken careful considerations about the benefits of owning the country, the Greenland government has issued a response. As CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported on Twitter, the government shot down the idea and declared that “Greenland is not for sale.”
As the report noted, Trump had “various degrees of seriousness” when discussing whether to buy the 811,000-square-mile island. Greenland holds an important strategic position in the North Atlantic and has a number of natural resources, including coal and uranium. The island is largely uninhabitable due to frozen climates, with a population of just 50,000 people.
The issue reportedly came up after Trump learned that Denmark had financial difficulties because of subsidies that it pays to Greenland. The president thought that purchasing the island could be on the table. It was not clear what price the United States was willing to pay, or if the discussions had even reached a point of raising a price. It was also not clear if Greenland would become a territory of the United States.
The idea of Donald Trump buying Greenland was shot down both by the autonomous Greenland government and former Denmark Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who took to Twitter to mock the alleged idea as an “April Fool’s Day joke.”
It must be an April Fool’s Day joke ... but totally out of sesson! https://t.co/ev5DDVZc5f— Lars Løkke Rasmussen (@larsloekke) August 15, 2019
Greenland is an autonomous Danish territory, and the United States already has a presence there with Thule Air Base — the northernmost base for the U.S. military. This serves an important strategic purpose as it hosts a radar and learning post that can detect and warn about incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles.
It was not clear as to whether Donald Trump’s desire to buy Greenland was legitimate. As CNN noted, one person with knowledge of his request on the issue believed that it was more of a joke than a serious consideration.
Donald Trump would not be the first American president to attempt to buy Greenland, the CNN report noted. The United States allegedly tried to buy the island in 1947 under President Harry Truman and also showed interest in 1867 under Secretary of State William Seward, who was also also responsible for purchasing Alaska from Russia.