President Donald Trump turned to one of his go-to insults in the escalating — and international — war of words over his proposed purchase of Greenland.
The president, 73, lashed out at Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Wednesday, calling her “nasty” after she said that it would be “absurd” to entertain the idea of Denmark selling Greenland to the United States.
“It’s an absurd discussion and [Greenland Prime Minister] Kim Kielsen has of course made it clear that Greenland is not for sale,” Frederiksen, 41, told Danish broadcaster DR, according to the Reuters.
Trump, who had toyed with the idea of a sale in recent weeks, did not take kindly to Frederiksen’s reaction, and said on Tuesday he would be “postponing” a two-day state visit to Denmark slated for Sept. 2-3.
“I looked forward to going, but I thought that the Prime Minister’s statement that it was absurd — that it was an absurd idea — was nasty,” he told reporters Wednesday on the White House South Lawn. “I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say, ‘No, we wouldn’t be interested.’ ”
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The Republican president continued to rail against Frederiksen’s choice of words, claiming that her choosing not to opt for a simple “no” was an insult not just to him, but to the entire country.
“I think it’s a good idea because Denmark is losing $700 million a year with it. It doesn’t do them any good,” he said. “But all they had to do was say, ‘No, we’d rather not do that, we’d rather not talk about that.’ Don’t say, ‘What an absurd idea that is,’ because she’s not talking to me. She’s talking to the United States of America. You don’t talk to the United States that way. At least not under me.”
Trump has previously used “nasty” to describe women with whom he’s clashed. He infamously referred to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “such a nasty woman” during a 2016 presidential debate, and in June, he said he didn’t know Meghan Markle was “nasty” after learning she’d spoken out against him years prior.
He later denied calling Markle “nasty,” despite recorded evidence published by U.K. outlet The Sun.
Meanwhile, his decision to cancel his trip to Denmark in light of Frederiksen’s statement has rubbed some in the Scandinavian country the wrong way.
Frederiksen remained diplomatic, telling reporters that while she found Trump’s change of plans surprising and somewhat disappointing considering plans were “well underway,” it would not “change the character of our good relations,” according to the Washington Post.
But Danish Parliament member Michael Aastrup Jensen told the Post a different story, claiming lawmakers in the country were “appalled” by the U.S. president, whom they believe “lacks even basic diplomatic skills.”
“It’s an insult from a close friend and ally,” Jensen told the outlet of the trip cancellation. “There was no word [ahead of time] about: ‘I want to buy Greenland and that’s why I’m coming.’”
Søren Espersen, foreign affairs spokesman for right-wing populist Danish People’s Party, also told Danish newspaper Politiken that Trump was acting like “a spoiled child.”
Trump first broached the topic of acquiring Greenland from Denmark last Sunday, telling reporters it was essentially “a large real estate deal.”
He’s not the first president to mull over the possibility, though his interest in Greenland was met with a mixture of confusion, curiosity and skepticism as to just how serious he really was about making a deal.
“It’s just something we talked about,” Trump told reporters on Sunday. “Denmark essentially owns it. We’re very good allies with Denmark. We protect Denmark like we protect large portions of the world. So the concept came up and I said, ‘Certainly, I’d be. Strategically, it’s interesting, and we’d be interested.’ But we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not No. 1 on the burner, I can tell you that.”
Greenland remains a part of Denmark but has its own government and semi-autonomy.