Make Greenland Great Again? Trump wants to buy Arctic territory

Sources close to the President say he’s asked his White House counsel to look into the matter

Donald Trump and a Greenland landscape (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)
Donald Trump and a Greenland landscape (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

It’s not Manhattan real estate, but President Trump sees the upside in Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory surrounded by the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

Trump has brought up the idea of buying Greenland with his advisors on multiple occasions and directed his White House counsel to look into the matter, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Buying the entire 836,000-square-mile island of Greenland from Denmark has been considered before, albeit quite a long time ago. The last offer on record was made by President Harry Truman in 1946 for $100 million, but the Danes refused. Prior to that, the history books show that the State Department initiated an inquiry into buying Greenland and Iceland in 1867.

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Government officials — now and historically — view Greenland as significant to national security and last year intervened to block China from financing three airports in the territory, but it is unclear whether security concerns are driving Trump’s idea to potentially purchase the northern island.

Sources told the Journal that the idea occurred to Trump after someone mentioned Denmark’s financial difficulties paying its annual $591 million subsidies to Greenland last spring at a roundtable dinner. Since then, the topic has come up multiple times, though it is unclear how serious Trump is about it.

Kenneth Mortensen, a real estate agent based in Greenland’s capital, says Trump’s interest in buying the island has become a running joke. He also noted that the 56,000 citizens — roughly the population of White Plains, New York — can’t own land on the island.

The Journal’s report comes as Trump prepares to travel to Denmark in early September for the first time. [WSJ] — Erin Hudson

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