Well, that escalated fast: A timeline of Trump’s Greenland adventure

Greenland (still) isn’t for sale

Aug.August 21, 2019 03:08 PM
Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen and President Donald Trump (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen and President Donald Trump (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

Over the last week, a story that’s entirely emblematic of the Trump era gained momentum and died shortly thereafter: the president made headlines with his stated aim to buy Greenland from Denmark. But it’s a deal that the Danish government has made clear is not on the table. Now, bitter recriminations are all that’s left of the new U.S. territory that was never to be.

Below are the events that transpired.

Aug. 15: The Wall Street Journal reported that the president had been floating the idea of purchasing Greenland — which was never listed for sale — to advisors for months. Current and former White House officials observed in the article that adding Greenland to U.S. territory would be tantamount to Andrew Jackson’s acquisition of Alaska for Trump; the idea also aligns with the Pentagon’s recent efforts to block China from building airports on the island.

August 19: “Greenland is not for sale,” Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen told a Danish newspaper earlier this week. “Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.”

Aug. 19, 8:07 p.m.: Trump shared a photo of a giant golden Trump-branded tower plopped on a rocky shoreline along with the text “I promise not to do this to Greenland!” At that time, the visit was still on.

Aug. 20: On Tuesday evening, White House spokesman Judd Deere confirmed that Trump would no longer be traveling to Denmark.

Aug. 20, 7:51 p.m.: Trump announced via Twitter that he had cancelled an upcoming trip to Copenhagen, where he had been invited by Queen Margrethe II, following Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen’s statement that there was “no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland.”

Aug. 21, 1:24 PM: Before departing on a trip to Kentucky, Trump told reporters outside the White House that Fredriksen was “nasty” in her comments about not selling Greenland. “I thought it was not a very nice was of saying something. But all they had to do is say, no, we’d rather not do that or we’d rather not talk about that.” He added that the slight was to America, not him personally.

Aug. 21, 2:10 p.m.: As of the time of this posting, Greenland is still not for sale.

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