BRIDGEWATER, NEW JERSEY – U.S. President Donald Trump has privately discussed with aides and advisers the idea of the United States purchasing the island of Greenland as a way to expand U.S. territory, two sources familiar with the situation said on Thursday.
The notion of purchasing the autonomous Danish territory between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans has been laughed off by some advisers as a joke but taken more seriously by others, the sources said.
The idea of a Greenland purchase was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
President Harry Truman once offered to buy Greenland in 1946 for $100 million.
Trump, who is on a working vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, is to make his first visit to Denmark early in September.
There has been no indication that a Greenland purchase will be on the agenda for his talks with Danish officials.
Thule Air Base in Greenland is the U.S. military’s northernmost installation.
The report has left Danes bewildered, with a former prime minister asking whether it was a joke. Another prominent opposition member said the report indicates that Trump is “insane,” while a member of the government bloc called it a “terrible idea.”
Trump’s idea “must be an April Fool’s Day joke,” albeit out of season, tweeted Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who was prime minister until June and now heads the opposition in Denmark.
In the U.S., the idea is being taken seriously in some corners. Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher tweeted that the suggestion isn’t “crazy,” adding that the U.S. “has a compelling strategic interest in Greenland, and this should absolutely be on the table.”
Democrats appeared less enthusiastic, with Rep. Steve Cohen tweeting that the idea was one for the “cryonic memorial.”