Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) revealed on Wednesday that he had inquired about the United States purchasing Greenland months before reports surfaced that President Donald Trump first expressed interest in buying the island.
“You’re joking, but I can reveal to you that several months ago, I met with the Danish ambassador and I proposed that they sell Greenland to us,” Cotton said while speaking at the inaugural Talk Business & Politics Power Lunch.
Accordingly, The Wall Street Journal published a report last week that stated Trump had asked about the United States’ ability to acquire Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, on multiple occasions and had even directed his White House counsel to look into its legal possibility.
The president confirmed days later that he was sincerely looking into purchasing the world’s largest non-continental island.
“Strategically, for the United States, it would be nice,” Trump told reporters. “And we’re a big ally of Denmark, and we help Denmark, and we protect Denmark.”
“Obviously, the right decision for this country,” Cotton replied when he was asked about the proposal. He argued that Greenland’s rich mineral resources and strategic location makes it an ideal acquisition for America, noting further that the move would be “vital to our national security” and that the “economic potential is untold.”
“Anyone who can’t see that is blinded by Trump derangement,” the Arkansas senator said.
Cotton reminded the crowd that former President Harry Truman offered to purchase Greenland for $100 million in the mid-1940s after World War II. He also explained that China attempted to bribe the local Greenland government into allowing the country to build three military bases on the land in 2018; at the time, the U.S. government convinced Denmark to block the deal.
The United States and Greenland have had a longstanding agreement to house American military assets on the island. Consequently, Thule Air Base, which is the U.S.’s northernmost base, has been active since World War II.
“I told the president you should buy it as well,” Cotton said. “[Trump has] heard that from me and from some other people as well.”
However, the White House’s inquiry into a sale ignited a media firestorm and forced the island’s over-arching government to issue a defensive statement.
“Greenland is not for sale,” said Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. “Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.”
After Frederiksen later criticized the president’s “absurd discussion” about purchasing the island, Trump retaliated by canceling a scheduled meeting between the United States and Denmark.
“Denmark is a very special country with incredible people,” Trump tweeted. “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 out meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time.”
“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 continued. “I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!”