The Wall Street Journal broke the news last week that President Donald Trump had eyed buying Greenland, which could be the ultimate in flashy real-estate deals. While critics scoffed, and officials from Greenland and Denmark made clear that the world’s largest island is not for sale—it is a largely self-governing part of the Kingdom of Denmark—some right-wing media outlets rushed to defend Trump and explain why acquiring the strategically located and resource-rich island would be a brilliant move.
“Buying Greenland isn’t a good idea—it’s a great idea,” wrote the Washington Examiner’s editorial board. The Examiner’s editorial argued that, unbound “from political sensitivities in Denmark,” the U.S. could station missiles in Greenland to thwart Russian ambitious in the Arctic. The Examiner argued that the U.S. could gain “unfettered access to a land rich not only in hydrocarbons but also in rare earth metals that are currently only available from an adversary, China”—and at the same time, the editorial argued, a purchase would offer “many grand opportunities for environmental protection.”
Over the weekend, White House adviser Larry Kudlow confirmed to Fox News that Trump, “who knows a thing or two about buying real estate,” wants to “take a look” at a potential deal. Trump himself said “we would be interested” and “we will talk with them a little bit” but said “it’s not number one on the burner.” After Kudlow’s remarks, Chris Enloe at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze wrote that Trump’s desire to buy Greenland is “strategically savvy.”
On Sunday, Breitbart published a piece by James Pinkerton saying that buying Greenland “is one of Donald Trump’s best ideas.” The piece noted that while Greenland is more than a quarter the size of the continental U.S., its population is only about 55,000. “In other words, the great landmass is ripe for development, so it’s no wonder Trump, real estate man, wants to take a crack at developing it — on behalf of the nation, if not for himself.”
Pinkerton mocked Denmark for failing to aggressively tap the territory’s natural wealth and choosing instead to treat the territory mostly “like a giant nature preserve.” He envisions unleashing American entrepreneurial energy on Greenland and launching a “whole new worldwide economic boom.”
Not everyone on the right is sold on the idea. At the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal, Luke Coffey wrote that Greenland “deserves the attention Trump is giving it,” while also warning about “the financial burden that being responsible for Greenland would place on the U.S.” Coffey said the U.S. can strengthen its strategic relationship without buying Greenland, saying “A country like ours that is drowning in $22.5 trillion in national debt must prioritize its spending.”
The U.S., which occupied and defended Greenland after Denmark fell to Nazis, maintains an Air Force base in Greenland. U.S. officials have expressed interest in buying the island before, in the 19th Century and again after World War II.