U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel a visit to Denmark because it won’t sell Greenland to him was dubbed “absurd” and a “farce” in the Scandinavian country.
“Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but 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 scheduled in two weeks for another time,” the president said on Twitter.
“The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct,” he added. “I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!”
Danish politicians, academics and the royal family were quick to react. Even the police expressed their frustration at the postponement.
Frederiksen is scheduled to speak to the press at 3 p.m. local time to address the U.S. snub — and there have been calls for her to avoid making the situation worse and risking a political crisis.
A spokesperson for the Danish royal family of Queen Margrethe II, who officially invited Trump, said the president’s decision came as “a surprise. We don’t have anything more to say.”
Politicians on all sides of the spectrum, however, condemned the president’s move.
Pernille Skipper, the leader of left-wing Red Green Alliance, tweeted that “Trump lives on another planet,” and lamented his “egocentric” and “disrespectful” decision.
Far-right Danish People’s Party chairman Kristian Thulesen Dahl joined in, saying that Trump’s decision was a “farce” worthy of April fools’ day.
Kristian Jensen, Denmark’s former finance minister from the Venstre party, tweeted that the situation was “total chaos” and had spiraled into a “diplomatic crisis.” He also reiterated that Greenland is not for sale.
There was also support from Brussels.
“The [European] Commission fully subscribes to and supports the positions that have been expressed both by the prime minister of Denmark and the government of Greenland,” Natasha Bertaud, the deputy chief spokeswoman for the EU’s executive arm, said.
Others in Denmark called for calm.
Kristian Søby Kristensen, a senior researcher at the department of political science at the University of Copenhagen, said Frederiksen should choose her words carefully when she addresses the press later Wednesday.
The U.S. “is — without comparison — Denmark’s most important ally when it comes to security policy, so it would be a very serious situation” if the PM was too blunt with Trump, he told tabloid BT.
Former prime minister and NATO boss Anders Fogh Rasmussen, meanwhile, saw the silver lining in Trump’s cancellation despite describing it as a “setback for our countries’ diplomatic relations.”
“But may be for the best,” he said in a tweet. “The Arctic’s security and environmental challenges are too important to be considered alongside hopeless discussions like the sale of Greenland.”