In the small village of Kulusuk, a settlement off Greenland’s southeastern coast, locals responded icily to news that the White House counsel’s office has looked into the possibility of purchasing Greenland from the Danish government.
“They tried to buy us in 1867, during Second World War, and now they are trying again,” local Kulusuk resident Bent Abeelsen told CNN. “Not gonna happen.”
The sentiment was echoed by the island’s government, which said in a statement Friday: “Greenland is not for sale.”
But at least one bemused Kulusuk local said he was open to the idea of what America could offer Greenland.
“I think it’s a funny offer but who knows. That’s always like that with him. At first nobody thought he was going to win, right? So we’ll see,” Kunuk, who declined to give his last name, told CNN.
Asked whether he would want to be an American, Kunuk said: “That depends on what it gives me. I like American movies and American music, and I wouldn’t mind cinemas and swimming pools here. Some infrastructure would be good.”
As Abeelsen pointed out, Trump would not be the first American to try buy Greenland. Though President Harry Truman dodged questions about his pursuit of control in the region, the United States allegedly tried to buy Greenland in 1946, and in 1867, Secretary of State William Seward showed interest in purchasing the island.
In remote areas like Kulusuk, Greenland’s geopolitical significance might seem less obvious.
The village subsists mostly on tourism and local fishing. Unemployment is high and the population has been in decline for a while. It currently stands at around 280 people.
A cartoon in one of Denmark’s major newspapers, Politiken, quipped in a faux real estate advertisement that Greenland’s selling points included: only one previous owner, beautiful land in a quiet area, newly renovated, self-sufficient, can be used all year round, good fishing opportunities and no neighbors.
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Kulusuk.
CNN’s Pamela Brown, Jim Acosta and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.