Trump canceled a diplomatic trip because he's mad he can't buy a country.
Trump just backed out of a trip to Denmark because that country's prime minister said she would not be willing to sell Greenland to the United States.
Even by Trump-era standards, this is highly surreal.
It all started last week when the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump had, on more than one occasion, asked whether it would be possible for him to purchase Greenland, a self-ruling territory of Denmark.
The idea was so absurd that everyone assumed it would be put to rest after Greenland politely tweeted that they were "open for business, not for sale."
Over the weekend, though, Trump persisted, tweeting a photoshopped picture of one of his gaudy hotels atop a fishing village in Greenland.
Greenland's premier, understandably chagrined that Trump was joking about literally purchasing his country, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that buying the country was "not something to joke about."
Turns out Trump wasn't joking at all. So much so that he threw a temper tantrum and canceled a long-planned trip to Copenhagen solely because the prime minister won't discuss selling Greenland. Tuesday night, he tweeted that "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."
Of course, the meeting wasn't supposed to be about the purchase of Greenland, as Trump himself told reporters on Sunday. Then, he said that buying Greenland was "a large real estate deal," but it wasn't "number one on the burner." He also declared that owning Greenland was "hurting Denmark very badly" but didn't explain why.
While Trump was telling reporters he didn't really care all that much about the deal, senior members of his administration were working to make it happen because, the Washington Post reported, he had been discussing the purchase for weeks.
The officials kicked around the idea that the United States could offer to take over Denmark's $600 million annual subsidy it pays to Greenland and "a large one-time payment" as well. None of those numbers matter, however, since neither Greenland nor Denmark are interested in this absurd deal.
As Denmark's prime minister said, before Trump canceled his trip, "Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over."
Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen: "Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over.” pic.twitter.com/JOCASC5TEK
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) August 21, 2019
Of course, over at Fox News, Trump both having a fit and falling on his face was spun like a stroke of genius. On Tuesday night, host Pete Hegseth praised Trump's folly as "one of these big, bold ideas that no one would have thought of" and speculated that Denmark was just negotiating to get a better price for Greenland.
This wasn't a big, bold idea. It was an incredibly foolish and insulting one that, in a normal presidency, would never have been conceived of, much less discussed at length.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.