President Trump really has been exploring the idea of purchasing Greenland for weeks now, The Washington Post and CNN report, confirming The Wall Street Journal's Thursday scoop. Is he serious, though? Nobody seems to know.
"The presidential request has bewildered aides, some of whom continue to believe it isn’t serious, but Trump has mentioned it for weeks," the Post reports, citing two unidentified people with knowledge of the president's demand. "As with many of Trump’s internal musings, aides are waiting for more direction before they decide how seriously they should look into it." CNN says the White House counsel's office has looked into the idea, though its sources did not report what the counsel found or how hard it looked.
Buying Greenland from the Danes may not be practicable, but the idea isn't crazy or even new. U.S. Secretary of State William Seward — famous for "Seward's folly," also know as Alaska — showed interest in also purchasing Greenland in 1867. And in the Truman administration, Secretary of State James Byrne offered Danish Foreign Minister Gustav Rasmussen $100 million in gold for the barren, ice-covered island in December 1946, according to telegrams in the National Archives.
The offer "seemed to come as a shock to Rasmussen, but he did not reject my suggestions flatly and said that he would study a memorandum which I gave him," Byrnes wrote. It's not clear if Denmark ever formally replied, but in 1951 it upgraded Greenland from a colony to a territory and then granted it home rule in 1979.
In any case, Trump can name his price, if he's serious, but every deal must also have a willing seller, and, well...
Oh well. There are other islands in the sea.