President Donald Trump has called Danish PM Mette Frederiksen “nasty” after she rebuffed his idea of buying Greenland.
He lashed out hours after PM Mette Frederiksen said she was “sorry” that President Trump had abruptly called off a state visit to Denmark.
The Danish prime minister has dismissed the suggestion of such a land deal as “absurd”.
Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II invited President Trump to visit the country on September 2, and the manner of his cancelation has stunned the Scandinavian nation.
Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn on August 21, President Trump took umbrage at Mette Frederiksen’s remarks.
He said: “I thought that the prime minister’s statement that it was absurd, that it was an absurd idea was nasty.
“I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say no, we wouldn’t be interested.”
The president added: “She’s not talking to me. She’s talking to the United States of America. You don’t talk to the United States that way, at least under me.”
President Trump pointed out that President Harry Truman once considered making an offer for Greenland, which is an autonomous Danish territory.
He continued to make digs at Denmark online.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mette Frederiksen reiterated that Greenland could not be bought.
She told reporters the idea of selling the resource-rich Arctic island had “clearly been rejected” by its leader, Kim Kielsen, “a position I share of course”.
Mette Frederiksen also said President Trump’s visit would have been an “opportunity to celebrate Denmark’s close relationship to the US”.
“This does not change the character of our good relations and we will continue our dialogue on how we can deal with challenges we are facing,” she said, adding that the invitation to President Trump “remains open”.
Mette Frederiksen has said President Trump’s no-show was a matter of regret because “our preparations were well under way”.
While praising Denmark as a “very special country”, President Trump said in a tweet on August 20 that his planned visit would no longer go ahead because Mette Frederiksen had “no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland”.
President Trump had earlier confirmed reports that he was interested in buying Greenland. When asked on August 18 if he would consider trading a US territory for the island, he replied: “Well, a lot of things could be done.”
“Essentially it’s a large real estate deal,” he said.
On August 19, President Trump tweeted a jokey image showing a tall golden skyscraper among the homes of a small village on the island.
The cancelation was described as a “farce” by the leader of the populist Danish People’s Party, Kristian Thulesen Dahl.
He tweeted: “What is this man thinking of though? And with grounds that are worthy of an April Fools’ joke.”
Danish Conservative MP Rasmus Jarlov accused President Trump of lacking respect for his country.
Former foreign minister Kristian Jensen said President Trump’s move had resulted in “total chaos”.
A spokeswoman for the leftist Red-Green Alliance, Pernille Skipper, said: “Trump lives on another planet.”
Pia Kjaersgaard, the populist former speaker of the Danish parliament, said it showed “rude behavior to the Danish people and the Queen, who invited him.”
President Trump has reportedly taken an interest in Greenland, in part, because of its resources, such as coal, zinc, copper and iron ore.
However, while Greenland may be rich in minerals, it relies on Denmark for two-thirds of its budget revenue. It has high rates of suicide, alcoholism and unemployment.
The US has long seen Greenland, which sits along a direct route from Europe to North America, as being strategically important. It established the Thule air force and radar base there at the start of the Cold War, which now covers space surveillance and forms the northernmost part of the US ballistic missile early warning system.
Meanwhile, new Arctic sea routes are opening up as climate change is blamed for the accelerating thaw of ice in the region.
China has recently been taking an interest in the area, too.