And here we thought that the WSJ report on Trump wanting to buy Greenland was a joke.
Speaking on the TV circuit on Sunday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow confirmed that the US president is really mulling the purchase of world’s largest island: "It's an interesting story,” Larry Kudlow told Fox News Sunday. “It’s developing. We’re looking at it. We don’t know." He also reminded host Dana Perino that “years ago” another US President, Harry Truman, also considered buying the 2,166,086-sq-km island, 80 percent of which is covered with ice.
According to Kudlow, Denmark - which incorporates Greenland as a self-governed territory - should sell it to America because “Denmark is an ally.”
“Greenland is a strategic place… they’ve got a lot of valuable minerals,” he explained, and he is right: Danish surveys have found that the owner of the island would stake a claim to around 900,000 sq km of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean.
And on Sunday afternoon Trump himself confirmed the report was legitimate when he said speaking to reporters that Greenland is "strategically interesting" and "we’d be interested, but we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not No. 1 on the burner, I can tell you that,” the president said.
"It’s just something we’ve talked about,” Trump told reporters when asked about the idea. “Denmark essentially owns it. We’re very good allies with Denmark. We’ve protected Denmark like we protect large portions of the world, so the concept came up."
“Essentially, it’s a large real estate deal. A lot of things can be done. It’s hurting Denmark very badly, because they’re losing almost $700 million a year carrying it. So they carry it at a great loss,” he said.
As we reported last week, the Wall Street Journal said that Trump "listened with interest" as his advisers discussed Greenland’s strategic location and vast natural resources, directing them to study the possibility of acquiring the island for the US. Not even the fact that Greenland is an autonomous country with over 56,000 people and its own local government, appeared to faze Trump, and while it relies on Denmark for two thirds of its budget, Copenhagen couldn’t sell it even if it wanted to.
So far, no willingness for the latter has been expressed – quite the contrary. Denmark’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, ruled out that the country would or could sell Greenland to the U.S. saying "Greenland isn’t for sale, Greenland isn’t Danish, Greenland is Greenlandic,” Frederiksen said Sunday during a visit to Greenland, according to local newspaper Sermitsiaq. “I keep trying to hope that this isn’t something that was seriously meant."
Sorry Mette, it was quite serious.
“It’s important for us to point out that selling Greenland is not an option. Nobody can sell a country like that. Denmark doesn’t own Greenland and you can’t sell something you don’t own,” Aki-Matilda Hoegh-Dam, a Danish MP elected in Greenland has said.
As a reminder, Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but has extensive home rule. Trump is due to visit Denmark Sept. 2-3.
Greenland’s Foreign Minister earlier responded to the report by saying that the island was “open for business, but we’re not for sale,” while various Danish politicians blasted Trump’s ambitions as “completely ridiculous” and an “April Fool’s joke.”
#Greenland is rich in valuable resources such as minerals, the purest water and ice, fish stocks, seafood, renewable energy and is a new frontier for adventure tourism. We're open for business, not for sale❄️🗻🐳🦐🇬🇱 learn more about Greenland on: https://t.co/WulOi3beIC— Greenland MFA 🇬🇱 (@GreenlandMFA) August 16, 2019
While so far it has been confined to the realm of the absurd, one possible escalation was penned by the New Yorker's Andy Borowitz with "Denmark Offers to Buy U.S." And why not: whereas a mortgage on Denmark would cost even Trump a pretty penny, it was a Danish bank - the third largest - that is now offering a -0.5% negative rate mortgages, i.e., it is paying people to pay take out a mortgage. Surely the magic of helicopter money means that even a country as expensive as the US can be purchased by the highest bidder once negative rate mortgages are thrown in...