North America

'It was an inappropriate statement': Trump accuses Danish leader of being 'nasty'


US President Donald Trump says Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen should not have called the idea of selling Greenland "absurd".

US President Donald Trump has expressed offence over the Danish prime minister's statement that selling Greenland was "absurd" and said the purchase of the autonomous Danish territory was just an idea.

"I thought the prime minister's statement was ... nasty," Trump told reporters at the White House before departing for a veterans' event in Kentucky.

"It was an inappropriate statement."

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

Instead of calling the idea "absurd", Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen should have simply told him her country was not interested in a sale, he said on Wednesday.

Ms Frederiksen's comments spurred Mr Trump to cancel his September visit to Denmark on Tuesday.

Upernavik in western Greenland.
Upernavik in western Greenland. Trump has confirmed to reporters he recently discussed the possibility of buying Greenland.
Ritzau Scanpix

The decision caused shock in Denmark, where Ms Frederiksen said she learned of it "with regret and surprise" but added the US remained one of Denmark's closest allies.

Other Danish political figures expressed condemnation, outrage and mockery.

"So (Trump) has cancelled his visit to Denmark because there was no interest in discussing selling Greenland. Is this some sort of joke? Deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark," former premier Helle Thorning Schmidt tweeted.

Another former premier, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, said: "it must be an April Fool's Day joke".

Mr Trump confirmed to reporters on Sunday he had recently discussed the possibility of purchasing the world's largest island, though he said such a move was not an immediate priority.

White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow has said Greenland is a strategic place and has a lot of valuable minerals.

Mr Trump said on Tuesday the US has long pondered purchasing Greenland, and that he considered it a good idea.

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