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Donald Trump could visit Denmark this year. How would Denmark welcome him?

Rumours of a possible visit to Denmark by US president Donald Trump later this year have sparked discussion of how the divisive leader would be received in the Scandinavian country.

Donald Trump could visit Denmark this year. How would Denmark welcome him?
US president Donald Trump could visit Denmark later this year. Photo: Leah Millis / Reuters / Ritzau Scanpix

Trump said earlier this week that he might include a stop in Denmark in his official visit to Poland this autumn, Reuters reports.

Although that by no means makes such a visit certain, commenters have speculated on how Trump is viewed by the Danish public and officials, and how that might characterize any stopover in the country.

Trump’s three predecessors – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – all visited Denmark during their time in office.

But a visit from Trump would have a very different feel to those of earlier presidents, said Philip Christian Ulrich, foreign editor with media kongressen.com, which reports on US politics.

“The animosity and opposition we have seen to much of Trump’s politics would affect such a visit,” Ulrich said.

READ ALSO: Americans and Danes support March For Our Lives at Copenhagen rally

Obama, who was in Denmark twice in 2009 including for the COP15 climate conference, was received like a “rock star”, he said, while Bush’s visit was strengthened by the Republican president’s close personal relationship with then-prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

“That balanced in some way the unpopularity Bush also had in relation to the Danish public. It was very much balanced out by the warm friendship between (Bush) and Fogh,” Ulrich continued.

“That (relationship) just doesn’t exist between Trump and Danish politicians,” he said.

Denmark has continued its good relationship with the US during Trump’s presidency, with former prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen having met Trump in Washington, D.C., where he maintained a cordial rapport.

It would make sense from a strategic point of view to welcome Trump to Denmark, Ulrich said.

“Even though we don’t spend two percent of our BNP on defence in relation to our Nato participation – something Trump cares a lot about – Denmark is an ally which is always there when the US calls.

“So it’s also in the Americans’ interest to preserve the good relationship,” he said.

The Danish Prime Minister’s Office (Statsministeriet) told Ritzau on Tuesday that no visit by the US president to Denmark is currently confirmed, although it added that “the president of a very close and valued ally of Denmark is naturally always welcome”.

READ ALSO: Obama uses Denmark speech to warn against 'racial', 'nationalistic' politics

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AMBASSADOR

Trump’s ambassador to Denmark leaves country as president’s term ends

After three years as United States Ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands has stepped down from the post and left Copenhagen.

Trump’s ambassador to Denmark leaves country as president’s term ends
Outgoing United States Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The now-former ambassador confirmed she had taken leave of the Danish capital via Twitter.

US president Donald Trump’s term ends on Wednesday, with President-elect Joe Biden to be inaugurated at 6pm Danish time.

“It's been a privilege serving the Trump Administration for over 3 years as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark. I’ve enjoyed promoting USA-Denmark-Faroe Islands-Greenland relations,” Sands tweeted.

“I have departed Copenhagen,” she added in a follow-up tweet.

In a video included in the tweets, Sands mentions her highlights of her time as ambassador. These include the re-opening of the US consulate in Greenland capital Nuuk alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Sands, who took over as ambassador in 2017 after being appointed by Trump, is likely to be remembered as the incumbent at the time of Trump’s overtures towards purchasing Greenland, an autonomous territory within the Danish kingdom.

After Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen dismissed Trump’s suggestion that the United States could buy the Arctic territory from Denmark, the US president promptly cancelled an official visit to Denmark scheduled for September 2019.

Sands met with the Danish government on several occasions in an attempt to take the heat out of a potential diplomatic dispute.

READ ALSO: Danes pour scorn on Trump after state visit postponement

More recently, Sands was criticised for tweeting an incorrect claim that her own vote had not been counted in the country's general election.

The ambassador posted on her personal Twitter account a screenshot which she claimed showed her absentee ballot in the state of Pennsylvania had not been registered. She also made several other posts on the site following the US election in support of Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.

Several other Twitter users – as well as the New York Times – looked up Sands' vote on the Pennsylvania state government website and found it was in fact registered.

READ ALSO: US ambassador to Denmark makes incorrect Twitter claim about own vote

After a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington DC on January 6th, Sands was officially contacted by foreign minister Jeppe Kofod. The minister called for Trump to concede defeat in the election and ensure a peaceful transition of power.

Newspaper Berlingske reported that this was the first time in history that a Danish foreign minister had officially protested over internal affairs in the United States.

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