Amid reports that President Donald Trump has directed aides to examine whether the United States can purchase Greenland—an autonomous territory of Denmark—Danish lawmakers on Friday condemned the idea as both absurd and "grotesque."
"If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof that he has gone mad," Soren Espersen, foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish People's Party, told local broadcaster DR. "The thought of Denmark selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous."
"We are talking about real people and you can't just sell Greenland like an old colonial power. But what we can take seriously is that the U.S. stakes and interest in the Arctic is significantly on the rise."
—Martin Lidegaard, Danish Social Liberal Party
The Wall Street Journal first reported on Trump's desire to purchase Greenland Thursday night.
"Trump has repeatedly expressed interest—with varying degrees of seriousness—in buying Greenland, asking advisers whether it would be feasible and directing the White House counsel to look into it," according to the Journal's Rebecca Ballhaus.
The Washington Post, which cited two people with direct knowledge of the president's directive, reported that Trump's "request has bewildered aides, some of whom continue to believe it isn't serious, but Trump has mentioned it for weeks."
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"It was unclear why Trump might want the United States to buy Greenland," the Post reported, "though his administration has identified the Arctic as an area of growing importance to U.S. national security interests."
Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, Danish MP from Greenland's second-largest party Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA), told Reuters on Friday that she is "sure a majority in Greenland believes it is better to have a relation to Denmark than the United States, in the long-term."
Martin Lidegaard, senior lawmaker of the Danish Social Liberal Party, said Trump's reported directive has the potential to be extremely dangerous.
"We are talking about real people and you can't just sell Greenland like an old colonial power," Lidegaard told Reuters. "But what we can take seriously is that the U.S. stakes and interest in the Arctic is significantly on the rise, and they want a much bigger influence."