U.S. President Donald Trump is acknowledging he canceled a trip to Denmark because the country's prime minister made a "nasty" remark in reaction to his suggestion the Danes sell Greenland to the United States.
"I thought it was not a nice statement, the way she blew me off. She was blowing off the United States," Trump told reporters on Wednesday. "She said absurd' — that's not the right word to use."
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said earlier in the day she regretted and was surprised Trump abruptly canceled his scheduled visit to Denmark for rebuffing his overture to buy Greenland, the strategic Arctic country with mineral wealth that is part of the Danish kingdom.
"I had been looking forward to the visit, our preparations were well underway," Frederiksen told reporters in Copenhagen, adding it would have been an opportunity to celebrate the close relationship between the two countries.
Danish political figures are assailing Trump's trip cancellation, saying his snub is ill-mannered.
"It's an insult from a close friend and ally," Danish parliamentarian Michael Aastrup Jensen said, adding that Trump "lacks even basic diplomatic skills."
Denmark's former business minister, Rasmus Jarlov, said on Twitter, "For no reason Trump assumes that (an autonomous) part of our country is for sale. Then insultingly cancels visit that everybody was preparing for. Please show more respect."
Left-wing politician Pernille Skipper wrote on Twitter that "Trump lives on another planet. Self-sufficient and disrespectful."
Soren Espersen, of the hard-right Danish People's Party, says Trump has effectively snubbed Queen Margrethe, Denmark's head of state, who formally invited the U.S. president and first lady Melania Trump.
Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen predicts Trump's cancellation could work out for the best.
"The Arctic's security and environmental challenges are too important to be considered alongside hopeless discussions like the sale of Greenland," Rasmussen, also a former Danish premier, wrote on Twitter.
The United States has a military presence in Greenland at Thule Air Base under a U.S.-Danish treaty dating to 1951.
When Trump recently floated the idea of buying Greenland from Denmark many there initially thought the suggestion was a joke.
Trump, late Tuesday on Twitter, called off the September 2-3 visit while saying that, "Denmark is a very special country with incredible people." But he said that with Frederiksen declaring 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."
Trump also thanked Frederiksen for saving "a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark" by publicly stating ahead of time her views opposing any possible Greenland sale.
The Danish prime minister said that while she considers the United States to be her country's closest strategic ally, "thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over."