November 18, 2019, 1:07

Denmark ‘disappointed and surprised’ by Trump trip cancellation over Greenland

Denmark ‘disappointed and surprised’ by Trump trip cancellation over Greenland

Denmark’s prime minister said Wednesday she was “disappointed and surprised” that President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled an upcoming visit after she called his idea of buying Greenland “absurd.”

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Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the president could still come, though, telling reporters in the capital, Copenhagen, that “the invitation for a stronger strategic cooperation with the Americans in the Arctic is still open,” the Associated Press reported.

Mads Claus Rasmussen/AFP/Getty Images

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen talks to the press after President Donald Trump cancelled his state visit after her government said its territory Greenland was not for sale, Aug. 21, 2019, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The White House had said that Trump would travel to Denmark and Poland over the Labor Day weekend, but Trump wrote in a tweet Tuesday night that he would postpone the Denmark leg after the Frederiksen dismissed his suggestion that the United States was interested in purchasing Greenland.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press before boarding Air Force One in Morristown, New Jersey, on August 18, 2019.

(MORE: Trump calls off trip to Denmark after prime minister shoots down idea of US buying Greenland)

“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,” Trump tweeted.

Felipe Dana/AP

In this Aug. 15, 2019, photo, a boat navigates at night next to large icebergs in eastern Greenland. Greenland’s ice has been melting for more than 20 years.

Frederiksen had rejected the possibility of selling Greenland to the United States as “an absurd discussion,” according to the Associated Press. Greenland is a autonomous territory of Denmark,

The prime minister on Wednesday again rejected the idea of selling Greenland and said the issue should not serve as a distraction.

(MORE: Greenland responds to reports Trump talked about buying the territory)

“This does not change the character of our good relations, and we will, of course, from Denmark, continue our ongoing dialogue with the U.S. on how we can develop our cooperation and deal with the many common challenges we are facing,” Frederiksen said.

Linda Kastrup/AP, FILE

The town of Upernavik in western Greenland, July 11, 2015.

Trump was slated to meet with Denmark’s queen during his trip, and on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Danish royal household told ABC News the household was “surprised” by the trip cancellation. The spokesperson would not comment further.

“I think it’s sad, honestly, because this is just not the way you treat an ally,” Rufus Gifford, who served as U.S. ambassador to Denmark during the Obama administration, told CNN. And to cancel the trip in this way is just a shame. It’s absolutely a shame.”

Trump has cancelled overseas trips or stops before.

He nixed a trip to Davos, Switzerland, in January, citing the partial government shutdown in the U.S., and cancelled stops in Peru and Colombia in April 2018 to deal with a Syrian chemical weapons attack.

He also called off a planned trip to London to inaugurate a U.S. embassy complex in January 2018, saying he was unhappy with the Obama administration’s sale of the previous embassy building. And he reportedly cancelled a stop at Israel’s Masada in 2017 because he could not land a helicopter atop the mountain fortress.


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