In Denmark, Bewilderment and Anger Over Trump’s Canceled Visit

ODENSE, Denmark — The astonishment in Denmark over President Trump’s apparent desire to buy Greenland turned to bewilderment and anger on Wednesday after the American leader abruptly scrapped a state visit because the Danes have no desire to sell.

The cancellation was a rare snub of Denmark’s head of state, Queen Margrethe II, who had extended the invitation to the president and would have hosted him and the first lady.

Mr. Trump further strained ties on Wednesday, calling the Danish prime minister’s rejection of the idea “nasty.”

News that Mr. Trump had called off his visit “came as a surprise,” the Royal House’s communications director told the state broadcaster, adding, “That’s all we have to say about that.”

He added, “You don’t talk to the United States that way.”

Ms. Frederiksen, asked about his remarks on Danish television, said, “I’m not going to enter a war of words with anybody, nor with the American president.”

A headline in Berlingske, a conservative daily, read “The U.S. and Denmark’s relationship has never been this ice-cold. It will have wide-ranging consequences.” A headline on the website of the state broadcaster read, “Trump sends Denmark and the U.S.’s relationship to the freezing point.”

Ms. Frederiksen, however, dismissed speculation that Danish-American relations had been damaged.

“I don’t believe the relationship is in crisis,” she said on Wednesday. “We are closely connected, and the United States is one of our most important allies. Our cooperation will only expand in strength and range.”

She said that any upcoming decisions about Danish contributions to military missions in Syria or the Strait of Hormuz would be unaffected. She added that Mr. Trump was welcome to visit the country at another time.

“The American president and the American people are always welcome in Denmark,” she said.

Many Danes had seen Mr. Trump’s visit as a recognition of a special relationship with the United States built on decades of friendly relations, mutual interests in the Arctic, and Danish responsiveness to American calls to action.

Danish troops took part in American-led missions in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, where 43 Danish troops were killed, a staggering number for a nation of 5.5 million not used to war.

But the suggestion of a potential sale of Greenland by Denmark still stuck many as beyond the pale. “For no reason Trump assumes that (an autonomous) part of our country is for sale,” Rasmus Jarlov, a former minister of business, wrote on Twitter. “Then insultingly cancels visit that everybody was preparing for. Are parts of the U.S. for sale? Alaska? Please show more respect.”

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