WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said buying Greenland would be "a large real estate deal" that could ease a financial burden on Denmark, which administers the island, but hours earlier its Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen ruled out any sale to the U.S.
"Strategically it's interesting and we'd be interested, but we'll talk to them a little bit," Trump said Sunday as he left New Jersey for Washington after spending two weeks at his golf course. But a deal is "not No. 1 on the burner."
Trump suggested that Denmark loses almost $700 million a year overseeing the massive ice-covered island with about 58,000 residents. "It's hurting Denmark very badly," he said.
"Essentially it's a large real estate deal," Trump said. "A lot of things can be done."
The president is due to visit Denmark next month, but on Sunday said he's not sure if there would be in person discussion about a deal.
Danish officials have been adamant about no-sale since reports emerged last week that Trump had directed advisers and lawyers to review a possible deal.
"Greenland isn't for sale, Greenland isn't Danish, Greenland is Greenlandic," Frederiksen said Sunday during a visit to Greenland, according to local newspaper Sermitsiaq. "I keep trying to hope that this isn't something that was seriously meant."
Larry Kudlow, head of the National Economic Council, earlier Sunday said Greenland is a "strategic place" rich in valuable minerals and that discussions are continuing.
"The president, who knows a thing or two about buying real estate, wants to take a look at a potential Greenland purchase," Kudlow said on "Fox News Sunday."
Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but has extensive home rule. Trump is due to visit Denmark Sept. 2-3.
--With assistance from Jordan Yadoo.
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