GOP senator defends Trump idea to buy Greenland

Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonHillicon Valley: GOP lawmakers offer election security measure | FTC Dem worries government is 'captured' by Big Tech | Lawmakers condemn Apple over Hong Kong censorship Lawmakers condemn Apple, Activision Blizzard over censorship of Hong Kong protesters Lawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip MORE (R-Ark.) in an op-ed on Monday defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE's suggestion that the United States should purchase Greenland. 

"The acquisition of Greenland would secure vital strategic interests for the United States, economically benefit both us and Greenlanders, and would be in keeping with American — and Danish — diplomatic traditions," the lawmaker wrote in The New York Times.

ADVERTISEMENT

Reports emerged earlier this month that the president had taken an interest in buying the semi-autonomous island territory, which is home to more than 50,000 people. Trump confirmed his interest soon after, telling reporters that he was interested in the land for strategic purposes. 

Cotton last week took credit for Trump's interest in the island, saying that he had originally suggested the idea to Trump.

"I myself raised the prospect of acquiring Greenland with the Danish ambassador just last year," Cotton wrote on Monday, affirming his own long-held interest in Greenland.

The idea of purchasing Greenland is not a new one.

"In 1946, the Truman administration offered $100 million to Denmark to acquire Greenland, arguing that the island was 'indispensable to the safety of the United States' in confronting the growing Soviet threat, just as it had been in World War II when American forces used bases in Greenland to deter Nazi aggression," Cotton noted.

The Arkansas lawmaker argued that China is also interested in Greenland, citing Beijing's attempts to buy an old naval base and build three airports on the island.

Territory in Greenland would give China access and claims to the Arctic, something the U.S. already has via Alaska.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has called the idea of the U.S. purchasing Greenland "absurd," prompting Trump to postpone his upcoming visit to the country in September. 

Cotton's op-ed did not address Denmark's unwillingness to sell the island.

"An agreement to transfer Greenland’s sovereignty must also serve the interests of our good friends, the Danes, and the 56,000 Greenlanders as well," he wrote. "Their considerations ought to include the fact that despite Greenland’s long-term potential, a lack of infrastructure and financing still hamstring the island’s economy today."

Cotton closed out his argument by referencing the acquisition of Alaska.

"Who today believes the acquisition of Alaska was 'Seward’s folly'? On the contrary, it has been a great blessing to Alaskans and all Americans. Our nation has much to gain, as do the Danes and Greenlanders. While there are short-term obstacles, the same benefits could apply for Greenland today — and the manifest logic of this idea means that its consideration is here to stay."