While President Trump seemed to pull his interest in purchasing Greenland out of thin air this week, he’s actually been privately talking about buying the semi-autonomous Danish region for more than a year, according to the New York Times.
In fact, last year the President even joked about trading Puerto Rico — the U.S. territory he’s treated with contempt ever since it was ravaged by Hurricane Maria — for Greenland, according to a former administration official who spoke to the Times.
Acquiring Greenland was a serious interest for President Trump because it fit his “desire to do something big as president,” in the Times’ words.
Trump decided to start a feud with Denmark over the prime minister’s reaction to his interest in buying the region. After Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen knocked the idea as “absurd,” Trump cancelled his planned trip to Denmark and later admitted to the press that it was her “not very nice” reaction that prompted him to do so.