No war of words with Trump: Danish PM Frederiksen

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has sought to draw a line under Donald Trump’s postponed state visit to Denmark and will not be dragged into an acrimonious exchange.

No war of words with Trump: Danish PM Frederiksen
Mette Frederiksen gave a statement on Wednesday on Donald Trump's cancellation of his state visit to Denmark. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

Frederiksen told media in Copenhagen on Wednesday that she was “disappointed and surprised” by Trump’s decision to cancel his state visit, which the US president announced on Twitter.

Trump later sniped at Denmark's premier over his desire to buy the icy autonomous territory, saying her blunt refusal to consider any negotiation was “nasty.”

The US president told reporters he had taken offence at Frederiksen's description of any such deal as “absurd.”

“It was not a nice way of doing it. She could have just said no, we'd rather not do it,” Trump said. “She's not talking to me, she's talking to the United States of America.”

That assessment did not appear to take into account Trump’s public, unsolicited and unilateral discussion of his interest in buying Greenland, which forced Frederiksen into a response.

But the PM refused to enter into a war of words with her American counterpart.

“I think we should keep in mind that it is the American president who is cancelling (the state visit),” Frederiksen told TV2.

“I won’t hide the fact that many people in Greenland think this discussion about a sale has been difficult, and [Greenland autonomous government leader] Kim Kielsen has made it very clear that Greenland is not for sale, and I support that,” she said.

During a visit to Greenland last week, Frederiksen said that “thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over. Let’s leave it there.”

She also called the prospect of Denmark selling the autonomous territory an “absurd discussion”.

Asked whether she would use the word ‘absurd’ again, she straight-batted the question.

“I’m not going to get into a war of words with anyone, including the American president, and Kim Kielsen has made it clear Greenland is not for sale and I support that,” she said.

In comments given to media on Wednesday, Frederiksen stressed the ongoing importance of the relationship between the two countries, and also said she did not expect the episode to have any lasting effect on “trade or security-related questions”.

“The United States is one of our closest and most important allies and we have many shared interests which we would have liked to discuss during the visit,” she said.

“Possibilities and challenges” related to the Arctic region would have been one of the areas to be discussed, the PM said.

“Our desire for a more strategic and stronger relationship with the USA with regard to the Arctic remains completely unaltered, and as such, our invitation for a stronger strategic partnership with the Americans is still open,” she added.


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Danish government criticised over post-election mink text announcement

The Ministry of Justice announced in a statement on Tuesday evening that SMS messages sent by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen or her staff in relation to the decision to cull fur farm minks in November 2020 could not be recovered.

Denmark's government said on Tuesday it could not recover text messages requested by an official commission in relation to an ongoing inquiry. The timing, hours after local elections, was strongly criticised by opposition lawmakers.
Denmark's government said on Tuesday it could not recover text messages requested by an official commission in relation to an ongoing inquiry. The timing, hours after local elections, was strongly criticised by opposition lawmakers. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

As such, an official inquiry currently scrutinising the decision last year to cull millions of fur farm mink will not have insight into key government communication relating to the controversial decision.

The PM has faced questions over a policy to automatically delete texts after 30 days, a practice not universally applied across government ministries.

“It has only been possible for police technicians to recreate a limited amount of SMS messages from the devices of justice ministry heads of department,” justice minister Nick Hækkerup said in the statement.

READ ALSO: Why are Danish PM Frederiksen’s deleted mink texts causing controversy?

The timing of the announcement, less than 24 hours after local elections, drew immediate criticism from opposition parties.

The Ministry of Justice received the material needed for analysis of the devices on Friday last week, news wire Ritzau reports.

Justice spokesperson Morten Dahlin of the opposition Liberal party said it was “easy to assume” that the government held back the announcement to avoid a negative impact for the Social Democrats in local elections.

READ ALSO: How damaging is local election result for Danish PM Frederiksen?

“It’s foul play not to go public with this information when it was received, but instead choose to keep it back. And you can only speculate about whether this is because the information wasn’t allowed to come out before the municipal elections,” Dahlin said.

The Liberal representative stressed that his party has “no confidence” in the government’s response to the controversy over the mink texts.

Hækkerup rejected the suggestion by the Liberals that the government had deliberately withheld information until after the election.

“That is simply not true. The process was that we in the Ministry of Justice received the material in sealed envelopes on Friday. We agreed on Monday with the Mink Commission [official inquiry, ed.] that we should meet with the commission and its assistants which was to have the material and review it with their clients. So it’s a process that was agreed with the Mink Commission,” Hækkerup said.

The minister’s comment was in turn rejected by his opposition counterpart.

“The explanation that the information was stored in sealed envelopes, which were coincidentally not opened before the municipal elections, is ridiculous,” Dahlin said.