Friday, August 23, 2019


We're learning more about the backstory to President Trump's bizarre offer to buy Greenland from Denmark. Yesterday, the Daily Beast reported that Trump's planned trip to Demnark, which the president abruptly canceled after his Greenland offer was snubbed, was the president's idea -- in fact, Trump invited himself to Denmark:
Speaking to reporters on the White House’s South Lawn in late July, President Donald Trump revealed that he was “looking at” a stop in Denmark after an upcoming trip to Poland to attend a World War II commemorative ceremony.

For officials in Copenhagen, the comment came as a surprise. Although it is customary in Denmark for there to be a standing invitation for the U.S. president—and though officials in both countries had been discussing the possibility of an American delegation visiting—no formal invitation had actually been extended to Trump, according to two senior Danish officials and an individual who works closely with the Trump administration in Copenhagen.

By the next day, Queen Margrethe II had issued the invite, and the White House had officially announced the president’s plans to visit the country.
Prior to that, we had Senator Tom Cotton boasting that the proposal to purchase Greenland was his idea.
Months before President Donald Trump expressed an interest in buying Greenland, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said he suggested the idea to the President and met with the Danish ambassador to propose the sale of the large land mass to the U.S.

Speaking Wednesday (Aug. 21) at the inaugural Talk Business & Politics Power Lunch at the Red & Blue Events Center in Little Rock, Arkansas’ junior senator said buying Greenland is a no-brainer.

“Obviously, the right decision for this country,” Cotton said quickly when asked by Talk Business & Politics CEO Roby Brock about Trump’s Greenland tweets. “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.” ...

“I told the president you should buy it as well,” Cotton said, adding later that “He’s (Trump) heard that from me and from some other people as well.”
But did anyone who spoke to Trump about this seriously believe the offer would be accepted? They all had to know that Trump would be rebuffed, even if Trump didn't.

The visit to Denmark was planned as part of Trump's trip to the G7 meeting this weekend. Trump hates overseas trips of this kind -- it's reported that he doesn't like traveling, but I assume he also loathes them because he's not the only powerful person in attendance, and the meetings are full of sophisticates talking about subjects he doesn't really understand. (The Washington Post reported last night that "Trump has complained repeatedly to senior aides about having to attend" this summit.)

Fearing that he won't be the center of attention at meeting like this, Trump likes to stir up trouble before he arrives. Just before landing in London earlier this year, Trump tweeted an attack on Sadiq Khan, the city's mayor. Prior to last year's G7, Trump announced a series of tariffs that unsettled members of the group. Trump also likes to cause trouble during and immediately after these meetings, of course, but Trump clearly believes that throwing a tantrum before he even arrives confers an advantage on him. I'm sure it relieves some of his anxieties and insecurities.

So we have to ask whether the entire sequence of events surrounding the Greenland proposal was the elaborate setup for a Trump tantrum on the eve of the G7.

But could Trump have planned all this in advance? Trump's not a planner. However, I think it's possible that some of his aides could see how the sequence would unfold. You whisper in Trump's ear about Greenland. He makes the offer. It's inevitably rejected. Maybe you whisper in Trump's ear again: You should punish that nasty woman by canceling your trip. Of course Trump does just that. Now, if you're the aide Trump associates with the snub, he likes you. First you suggested a way he could make a big real estate deal that also would have been a big national security deal. Then you suggested how he could get back at a nasty broad who mouthed off at him. Winning!

Maybe it didn't happen that way. But it might have.

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