An odd little story surfaced this week over President Trump’s idea about buying Greenland. For some reason, a Republican senator felt the need to let some constituents in on a fact not previously reported on – he was the one who had the idea in the first place a year ago.
Senator Tom Cotton was back home in Arkansas Wednesday and attended a luncheon hosted by an Arkansas-based news website. The inaugural Talk Business & Politics Power Lunch at the Red & Blue Events Center in Little Rock, Arkansas produced an interesting tidbit from Senator Cotton. When asked about the topic of buying Greenland, Cotton acknowledged the host was likely making a joke but he (Cotton) is perfectly serious about it. He wants to do it and takes credit for suggesting it to President Trump.
“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.”
Wait. Senator Cotton met with the Danish ambassador and offered up his idea about the United States purchasing Greenland? The senator didn’t travel to Denmark to present his proposal but instead offered it during a meeting in his office with Ambassador Lars Gert Lose a year ago – back in August 2018. The meeting was arranged to discuss NATO and a gas pipeline but Cotton had an additional item for the meeting’s agenda.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas proposed the idea to the Danish ambassador to the U.S. in August 2018, in a meeting in the senator’s office that had been arranged to discuss the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, according to a spokeswoman for Mr. Cotton.
The ambassador, Lars Gert Lose, was “caught a little off guard,” said the senator’s spokeswoman, Caroline Tabler. After Mr. Cotton laid out the reasons why the U.S. would want to purchase Greenland, an ice-covered autonomous Danish territory between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, the conversation “moved on,” Ms. Tabler said.
A spokeswoman for the Danish ambassador declined to comment.
Where has that little nugget been hiding all this time? Did Senator Cotton let the Trump administration know that he was going to make a proposal to the Danish ambassador about the United States purchasing Greenland? Is the purchase of Greenland a longtime desire of Cotton’s or did he just randomly get up that morning and think, hey the United States should buy Greenland? The idea wasn’t some common topic of conversation among Americans. Most of us were completely blindsided by the announcement that Trump was willing to entertain the idea. No one had it on their radar.
It looks as though Cotton was coming at the idea with military strategy in mind. There is an important Air Base in Greenland. Cotton is a military veteran. Cotton said that in 2018 the Chinese government tried to bribe the local government of Greenland to allow them to build three military bases there. The Trump administration intervened, along with some members of Congress and convinced the Danish government to block the deal at the last minute.
The primary U.S. military base on Greenland is Thule Air Base, 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The base is home to the 21st Space Wing’s global network of sensors providing missile warning, space surveillance and space control to North American Aerospace Defense Command and Air Force Space Command.
Cotton said Greenland’s mineral reserves and its strategic location make it an ideal strategy move for the U.S., noting that such reasons are why President Harry Truman offered $100 million in the 1940s. Cotton told the Red & Blue crowd that Greenland’s “economic potential is untold,” and the island is “vital to our national security.”
“Anyone who can’t see that is blinded by Trump derangement,” he said.
I sure don’t remember any news stories about the indignation of the Danish Prime Minister at the idea proposed by China directly to Greenland at that time. Cotton says now that the Danish ambassador was caught off guard by his suggestion last August and the conversation moved on.
So, fast forward to the recent stories of President Trump having the idea of the United States purchasing Greenland. I admit the idea caught me off guard. The story drew mixed reactions but as the idea started to sink in, it kinda sorta began to make sense to some folks. For whatever reason, though, the Danish ambassador decided to go public with the disapproval of the idea and then Trump called off his trip to Copenhagen next month.
Cotton says he spoke to Trump about the idea last year. He says he hasn’t spoken to him about it since. Some business leaders and Trump donors like the idea, especially looking at it as a way to prevent the Chinese military from getting a foothold in Greenland. A bonus is that Greenland is rich in natural resources.
The idea was also raised by the president’s business associates. At a dinner last spring, Mr. Trump said someone had told him at a roundtable—typically attended by major donors and business executives—that Denmark was having financial trouble over its assistance to Greenland, and suggested that he should consider buying the island, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.
One Republican familiar with the discussions said the idea had been discussed in Wall Street circles before the president confirmed last week that he was thinking about it.
As it all stands now, discussions are not happening. There is not much chance of anything moving forward, at least in the near future. Both Greenland and Denmark say that Greenland isn’t for sale. Maybe if Denmark continues to bleed money in keeping up with its assistance to Greenland the idea won’t be so offputting.
— Ambassador Carla Sands (@USAmbDenmark) August 22, 2019
#Greenland is rich in valuable resources such as minerals, the purest water and ice, fish stocks, seafood, renewable energy and is a new frontier for adventure tourism. We're open for business, not for sale❄️🗻🐳🦐🇬🇱 learn more about Greenland on: https://t.co/WulOi3beIC
— Greenland MFA 🇬🇱 (@GreenlandMFA) August 16, 2019