Twitter Community Reacts to Report That Trump Has ‘Expressed Interest’ in Buying Greenland

Twitter Community Reacts to Report That Trump Has ‘Expressed Interest’ in Buying Greenland
A giant iceberg is seen behind an Innaarsuit settlement, Greenland July 12, 2018. (Reuters)

Twitter’s top trending hashtag late Thursday was #Greenland. A look at the trend leads to reports that President Donald Trump has been making enquiries into the prospect of the United States buying Greenland, which has activated the Twitter community into multiple avenues of commentary.

The Wall Street Journal, citing two unnamed advisers, reported late Thursday that Trump has, “with varying degrees of seriousness, repeatedly expressed interest” in buying the island in the North Atlantic.

According to the article, the idea first came to Trump last spring when an associate suggested during a dinner that he should consider buying Greenland given that Denmark was having financial trouble over the island.

Trump speaks to the press
President Donald Trump speaks to the press on the South Lawn of the White House before departing in Washington on Aug. 9, 2019. (Nicholas KammAFP/Getty Images)

Trump has since been asking his White House counsel to look into the idea, the report said.

Greenland is the world’s largest island but has a population of only about 56,000. It enjoys self-governance in some areas, including judicial affairs, utilization of natural resources, and policing, as an autonomous constituent country within the Kingdom of Denmark. But its foreign and security interests remain in the hands of the Danish government—as stipulated by the Danish Constitution.

It’s also very big, one Twitter user observed.

Greenland is known for its abundant resources and geopolitical importance, given its strategic location. The Arctic island is the shortest route from North America to Europe.

The U.S. military currently has an airbase, Thule Air Base, located in the northwestern part of Greenland, which has been under U.S. operation since World War II. It is home to the 821st Air Base Group, a unit of the 21st Space Wing. That unit, which is part of the U.S. Air Force, is tasked with giving early missile warnings and detecting any objects orbiting the earth to prevent them from colliding with satellites.

An early warning radar installation in Thule, Greenland. A meteor struck 25 miles north of the base in July. (US Air Force)
An early warning radar installation in Thule, Greenland. A meteor struck 25 miles north of the base in July. (US Air Force)

The military base is also being used by the U.S. Air Force Space Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The Twitter community was abuzz Thursday evening as people reacted to the news.

One Twitter user joked that Trump could set up a Space Force base in Greenland.

“Buy Greenland, get Space Force rolling, base Space Force in Greenland, Trump legacy secured,” she wrote.

Some Twitter users posted images, apparently in jest, of what Greenland may look like if Trump does indeed seal the deal.

Others questioned whether those in Greenland would be on board with the idea or whether it’s even possible.

Ben Shapiro, an American conservative political commentator and social media personality, expressed on Twitter that people’s stance toward Trump’s interest in purchasing the island could indicate their stance toward the United States itself.

“If you oppose the United States buying Greenland, you hate America,” he wrote.

His comment has been questioned by many Twitter users.

“Why is that always the go-to phrase? ‘if u disagree, u hate America,'” one Twitter user responded.

Meanwhile, another Twitter user joked that the United States should be looking to acquire a number of properties, including Hong Kong, Greenland, Canada, New Zealand—and the moon.

A few Twitter users pointed out the irony that Greenland is “covered in ice.”

This isn’t the first time that the United States has expressed interest in purchasing the large, strategically positioned island. The U.S. State Department made an offer to Denmark to buy Greenland and Iceland in 1867, followed by President Harry Truman in 1946. Both times, Denmark turned the United States down.

China has also been eyeing Greenland’s rich mineral resources, including uranium and rare earths, as well as Greenland’s close proximity to the Arctic shipping lanes, according to a January 2018 editorial by state-run media Xinhua.

The communist state considers Greenland a strategic part of its Arctic ambition and “Polar Silk Road”—an extension of its One Belt, One Road initiative. But in 2018, Greenland picked Denmark over Beijing to finance its airport projects. Before the decision, diplomatic tensions had arisen after Greenland’s Prime Minister traveled to Beijing to discuss financing from China’s state-owned banks.

Kyle Olbert, the director of East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, said the prospect of the United States acquiring Greenland would serve a disadvantage to both Russia and China.

Trump is scheduled for a state visit to visit Denmark early next month. Kenneth Mortensen, a real estate agent in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital, told the WSJ there is a running joke in Greenland that Trump is visiting Denmark just to buy the island.

Frank Fang, Melanie Sun and Reuters contributed to this report.

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