Tidewater glacier in Southeast Greenland, summer of 2018
Tidewater glacier in Southeast Greenland, summer of 2018
PHOTO: Eric Rignot
Now playing
01:51
President Trump is interested in buying Greenland, but why?
banon wayne split
banon wayne split
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
02:00
Trump pardons 73 people, commutes sentences of 70 others
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen beyond a security fence on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen beyond a security fence on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states. According to reports, as many as 25,000 National Guard soldiers will be guarding the city as preparations are made for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. President. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Now playing
01:15
12 Army National Guard members removed from inauguration duty
PHOTO: Pool/Getty Images
Now playing
02:04
Mitch McConnell: Capitol rioters were fed lies
Now playing
01:47
CNN explains why Biden's flight to DC is so unusual
Now playing
04:44
CNBC host reveals why he left Fox News
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: National Guard troops march by security fencing near the U.S. Capitol on January 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: National Guard troops march by security fencing near the U.S. Capitol on January 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states. According to reports, as many as 25,000 National Guard soldiers will be guarding the city as preparations are made for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. President. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Eric Thayer/Getty Images
Now playing
01:49
Two Army National Guard members removed from inauguration duty
trump farewell message
trump farewell message
PHOTO: White House Photo
Now playing
03:18
Trump offers 'best wishes' to new administration in farewell address
An 18-year-old college student from Georgia has been sentenced to four months in prison in the Cayman Islands after breaking the British Caribbean territoryís Covid-19 protocol while visiting her boyfriend for a jet skiing competition, according to her family.
An 18-year-old college student from Georgia has been sentenced to four months in prison in the Cayman Islands after breaking the British Caribbean territoryís Covid-19 protocol while visiting her boyfriend for a jet skiing competition, according to her family.
PHOTO: Courtesy Jeanne Mack
Now playing
01:16
Teen jailed for breaking Covid quarantine speaks out
daily weather forecast california fire threat strong winds snow_00003520.png
daily weather forecast california fire threat strong winds snow_00003520.png
Now playing
02:07
Severe wind event promps fire threat in California
This screen grab from a Zoom call shows New York Mets general manager Jared Porter Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Mets general manager Jared Porter sent graphic, uninvited text messages and images to a female reporter in 2016 when he was working for the Chicago Cubs in their front office, ESPN reported Monday night, Jan. 18, 2021.
This screen grab from a Zoom call shows New York Mets general manager Jared Porter Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Mets general manager Jared Porter sent graphic, uninvited text messages and images to a female reporter in 2016 when he was working for the Chicago Cubs in their front office, ESPN reported Monday night, Jan. 18, 2021.
PHOTO: AP
Now playing
01:08
NY Mets fire GM after he reportedly sent explicit pictures to female reporter In 2016
McCarthy
McCarthy
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:40
'Far too close:' Army secretary reveals sobering details on riot
US President Donald Trump waves to the media as he makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on January 12, 2021. - Trump is traveling to Texas to review his border wall project. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump waves to the media as he makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on January 12, 2021. - Trump is traveling to Texas to review his border wall project. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
03:44
Trump mostly in seclusion during final days of presidency
Members of the Michigan Boogaloo Bois an anti-government group stand with their long guns near the Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan on January 17, 2021, during a nationwide protest called by anti-government and far-right groups supporting US President Donald Trump and his claim of electoral fraud in the November 3 presidential election. - The FBI warned authorities in all 50 states to prepare for armed protests at state capitals in the days leading up to the January 20 presidential inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. (Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP) (Photo by SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the Michigan Boogaloo Bois an anti-government group stand with their long guns near the Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan on January 17, 2021, during a nationwide protest called by anti-government and far-right groups supporting US President Donald Trump and his claim of electoral fraud in the November 3 presidential election. - The FBI warned authorities in all 50 states to prepare for armed protests at state capitals in the days leading up to the January 20 presidential inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. (Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP) (Photo by SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Seth Herald/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
04:37
Expert: Social media to extremism is like oxygen to fire
Pharmacist Jason Hyde fills syringes with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine as first responders wait to receive it at UMass Memorial Hospital in Marlborough, Massachusetts on January 12, 2021. - First Responders started to receive their vaccinations on January 11, as part of the phase one of vaccinations roll out in Massachusetts. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
Pharmacist Jason Hyde fills syringes with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine as first responders wait to receive it at UMass Memorial Hospital in Marlborough, Massachusetts on January 12, 2021. - First Responders started to receive their vaccinations on January 11, as part of the phase one of vaccinations roll out in Massachusetts. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:15
CDC warns new Covid-19 variants could accelerate spread in US
PHOTO: @FLOTUS
Now playing
02:51
Watch Melania Trump's farewell speech
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 4: Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., is seen during a group photo with freshmen members of the House Republican Conference on the House steps of the Capitol on Monday, January 4, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 4: Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., is seen during a group photo with freshmen members of the House Republican Conference on the House steps of the Capitol on Monday, January 4, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images
Now playing
02:49
GOP lawmaker accused of giving 'reconnaissance' tour prior to Capitol riot
(CNN) —  

President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed interest in recent weeks in buying Greenland.

That is not a sentence from an Onion article, although you could be forgiven if you made that mistake. This President, the most unorthodox resident of the White House in modern history, is actually, apparently, interested in buying Greenland – the world’s largest island currently owned by Denmark.

This raises all sort of questions – like, literally, dozens – but I’ve boiled it down to five key ones, which I will now attempt to answer.

1. Why?

It makes sense to get the big one out of the way first, right? Why would the US President want to purchase an island that is 80% covered by an ice sheet and where less than 60,000 people actually live? Trump himself hasn’t said – yet – but there are a few obvious reasons.

The first is because Greenland is widely believed to be hugely rich in natural resources – including iron ore, lead, zinc, diamonds, gold, rare earth elements, uranium and oil. And much of it is currently untapped, due to the fact that, well, 80% of the country is covered by an ice sheet. But due to global warming, that ice sheet is melting rapidly – this summer NASA scientists observed two of the largest melts in the history of Greenland – and that erosion of the ice sheet is expected to make the mining of Greenland’s natural resources more doable.

The second is for geopolitical reasons. The United States already has a foothold in the country – Thule Air Base – and, as The Wall Street Journal, which broke the Greenland purchase story, notes:

“Located 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle, it includes a radar station that is part of a U.S. ballistic missile early-warning system. The base is also used by the U.S. Air Force Space Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.”

Third, Trump is a man very interested in his legacy in office. Buying Greenland would be a major bullet point on his presidential resume.

2. Is Greenland for sale?

Seems like no!

“#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,” tweeted the country’s government on Friday morning. “We’re open for business, not for sale.”

Denmark owns Greenland, but the country has its own autonomous government. The country was granted home rule by the Danes in 1979 and in 2008 voted via referendum for even more autonomy from Denmark.

3. Is this crazy?

Nope – despite what Twitter might make you think.

The United States has actually pursued the purchase of Greenland before, according to a Danish historian named Tage Kaarsted. In 1946, US Secretary of State James Byrnes – serving under President Harry Truman – broached the idea with the Danish foreign minister at a United Nations meeting in New York. Nothing ever came of it. Almost 100 years before that, Secretary of State William Seward – fresh off the US’s purchase of Alaska – apparently looked into buying Greenland from the Danes.

4. Does the US buy a lot of other countries?

Um, no.

One of the last times the United States bought land from a foreign country was in 1867, when Seward orchestrated the purchase of Alaska from the Russians for $7.2 million. It was heavily criticized at the time – and has gone down as “Seward’s Folly” in the history books. The US also purchased the Philippine islands from Spain in 1898 for $20 million and the Virgin Islands from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million.

The most famous land acquisition by the United States came earlier – 1803 to be exact – when we agreed to the Louisiana Purchase with France. The US paid $15 million at the time for land that makes up almost one-quarter of America’s current territory.

5. How does that saying go about Greenland and Iceland?

It goes like this: Greenland is actually icy and Iceland is actually green. And it’s generally true! Blame the Vikings for the names!

The Point: Donald Trump has a lot of wild ideas as president. Buying Greenland may be one of the most unorthodox. But it’s also not one of his worst.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly state the history of US land purchases.