- As part of his interest in purchasing the island of Greenland from Denmark, President Donald Trump once joked that the US could trade Puerto Rico for Greenland, a former official told The New York Times.
- After the Wall Street Journal broke the news of Trump’s interest in purchasing Greenland, Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen shot down the idea as "absurd."
- Trump has a rocky and tumultuous relationship with the leadership of Puerto Rico, a Caribbean island territory the US acquired from Spain in 1898.
- In 2017, his administration was accused of inadequately responding to the devastation Hurricane Maria caused the island and giving Puerto Rico less disaster aid than US states like Florida and Texas.
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As part of his interest in purchasing the island of Greenland from Denmark, President Donald Trump once joked that the US could trade Puerto Rico for Greenland, a former official told The New York Times.
After the Wall Street Journal broke the news of Trump’s interest in purchasing Greenland, a partially autonomous territory in the Arctic Ocean under Danish control, Trump spent the week sparring with Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen over the issue.
When Fredriksen shot down his idea of purchasing Greenland as "absurd" and clarified that the island "is not for sale," Trump took her response as a personal affront to the United States and canceling a planned state visit to Denmark, which was presumably meant to discuss a possible purchase of Greenland.
"I thought the prime minister’s statement that it was an absurd idea was nasty, I thought it was an inappropriate statement," Trump lamented to reporters outside the White House on Wednesday.
"All she had to do was say, ‘no, we wouldn’t be interested.’ I thought it was a very not nice way of saying something. They could have told me ‘no’… I have many friends from Denmark … and we treat countries with respect. She shouldn’t treat the United States that way," Trump added.
Later that day, Trump took another shot at Denmark on Twitter over their contributions to NATO’s budget, tweeting, "for the record, Denmark is only at 1.35% of GDP for NATO spending. They are a wealthy country and should be at 2%."
As the Times pointed out, Trump has a rocky and tumultuous relationship with the leadership of Puerto Rico, a Caribbean island territory the US acquired from Spain in 1898.
After Hurricanes Maria and Harvey devastated US states along the Gulf of Mexico and Puerto Rico in fall of 2017, Trump bitterly feuded with Puerto Rican politicians as his administration was accused of inadequately responding to the devastation of the island and giving Puerto Rico less disaster aid than US states like Florida and Texas; the hurricane is estimated to have caused 2,975 deaths, making it one of the deadliest hurricanes in US history.
In a now-infamous viral video, Trump visited the island shortly after the storm and flippantly tossed rolls of paper towels into a crowd of people seeking supplies.
In a series of angry tweets in April, Trump wrote of Puerto Rico, "all their local politicians do is complain & ask for more money. The pols are grossly incompetent, spend the money foolishly or corruptly, & only take from USA," suggesting that Puerto Rico was not part of the US.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley echoed that implication by calling Puerto Rico "that country" in a subsequent cable news appearance.
While Puerto Ricans are US citizens who pay federal taxes and serve in the US armed forces, people living in the territory cannot vote in federal elections and do not have representatives voting on their behalf in Congress, only being able to elect non-voting delegates.
- Trump ranted for 35 minutes in 89-degree heat, calling the prime minister of Denmark ‘nasty,’ repeating his claim that Jewish voters are ‘disloyal,’ and saying it ‘isn’t my trade war’
- People in Denmark are angry and sad that Trump canceled his visit — and warning that the relationship between the 2 countries is now ‘ice-cold’
- ‘Look forward to rescheduling’: Trump scraps trip to Denmark after its prime minister rejected his idea of buying Greenland