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Danish parties split over Donald Trump's state visit

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Danish parties split over Donald Trump's state visit
US President Donald Trump speaks to the media in Washington onJuly 30. Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Ritzau Scanpix
11:11 CEST+02:00
Next month's state visit to Denmark from US President Donald Trump has sharply divided public opinion, with business leaders and the major parties welcoming him and others pledging to protest.
Brian Mikkelsen, chief executive of the Danish Chambers of Commerce, was perhaps the most eager to seize on the opportunities presented by the US President's visit, telling Danish state broadcaster DR that it was a "scoop" for Denmark.  
 
"It's fantastic news, that Donald Trump is visiting Denmark," he tweeted on Thursday morning. "The USA is the world's biggest economy and our second biggest export market. A visit from the president is a golden opportunity for Danish business. And we shall seize it!" 
 
Politicians on Denmark's populist right and centre-right also greeted the news with enthusiasm. 

Michael Aastrup, foreign affairs spokesperson for the centre-right Liberal Party, said the visit was a "unique change to raise important issues with the world's greatest superpower, for example, the fight against climate change and Iran."

"Fantastic that President Trump is following what we can now more or less call a tradition, that the sitting American president visits Denmark," posted Nicolai Estrup, a politician for the Danish People's Party, on Twitter. 
 
The governing Social Democrats welcomed the US president, albeit with cautious language that stressed that he was being invited as the leader of one of Denmark's closest allies. 
 
But other parties on the left were more hostile. 

Karsten Hønge, chair of the Socialist Left Party, said that he planned to join protests against the US leader. 

"I will stand out on the streets and shout at him -- that he is a woman-hater, a climate denier and a representative of the reactionaries in the world," he said.

The party's youth wing will next week host a meeting on what sort of protest to mount against his visit. There are also proposals for a Dump Trump protest. 

The Red Green Alliance protested inviting a president who had decided to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Deal, with the party's energy chairman Søren Egge Rasmussen going on to Twitter to invite the popular Democrat senator Alexandria Ocasio Cortes to mount a rival visit to Denmark at the same time. 

The party's EU spokesman pointed out that the press release the government issued announcing the visit made no mention of climate change, putting a question over its commitment to run Denmark's greenest ever government. 

"It's strange that Mette Frederiksen puts forward security politics, Arctic issues and trade and investment as the subjects she wants to discuss with Trump when he visits Denmark. Wouldn't it make more sense to mention climate, climate and once again climate?"

In its leader, the Information newspaper, said that Donald Trump's visit represented a unique opportunity to seek to make him change his mind about the Paris Agreement.

"Donald Trump is known for changing his mind when he sees things right there in front of him," the paper argued. "That's why we must get the president to change his attitudes to the green transformation when he visits Denmark." 

Others ridiculed this hope, with the campaigner Allan Lindemark baiting Aastrup and others by imagining how a chastened Trump might announce his conversion after witnessing Denmark's example. 

"Now I have visited Denmark, I realise the sense in fighting climate change, and how wrong I was when I threatened to bomb Iran back to the stone age," he tweeted.

 

 
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