GOP senator defends Trump idea to buy Greenland

Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Negotiators 'far apart' as talks yield little ahead of deadline Hillicon Valley: Facebook bans ads from pro-Trump PAC | Uber reports big drop in revenue | US offers M reward for election interference info MORE (R-Ark.) in an op-ed on Monday defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally 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.

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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."