On Wednesday, in Denmark, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked about that time when President Donald Trump tried to buy Greenland.
Questioner: “So you’re not in the market for Arctic islands anymore?”
Pompeo: “We’re trying to get prosperity and security for our good friends here.”
Here’s the thing: The easiest answer for Pompeo here is “No, we are not trying to buy Greenland from Denmark.” Because, well, Denmark wasn’t super keen on the original idea of the US wanting to buy an island that they didn’t intent to put on the market.
And after learning that the Danes didn’t want to sell, Trump abruptly canceled a planned trip to Denmark. Tweeted Trump:
“Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time.”
And that was, presumably, that. Except maybe not!
Because, again, all Pompeo needed to say when asked today about buying Greenland is “no.” He didn’t say that.
Why? Well, I don’t think the US is on the verge of pulling off some secret real estate deal to acquire Greenland. But I do think that Pompeo has built his success within the Trump administration by never crossing the President. And Pompeo probably knows that Trump would still like to buy Greenland – even if it’s not for sale – so he deflects when asked a direct question about the US intentions toward the island.
The Point: In an administration that has produced a lot of strange storylines, this one continues to be the strangest.