Danish ex-PM attacks Trump for comments on defence spending
Copenhagen: A former Danish prime minister on Thursday lashed out at US President Donald Trump for his tweet about military spending, saying defense willingness is not just about the amount of money spent.
Lars Loekke Rasmussen's comment is the latest in an escalating spat between the US and Denmark after Trump scrapped a visit to the country, saying current Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was "nasty" when she rejected his idea of buying Greenland as an absurdity.
Loekke Rasmussen, who led the country until June, tweeted Thursday to Trump: "We have had (proportionally) exactly the same numbers of casualties in Afghanistan as US. We always stands firm and ready."
Trump, who has urged NATO members to do more to meet the alliance's goal of committing 2 per cent of gross domestic product to defense, earlier tweeted that "Denmark is only at 1.35%". "We will not accept that our defence willingness is only about percentages," Loekke Rasmussen tweeted. "I told you at the NATO Summit in Brussels last year."
In January, Denmark agreed to increase its long-term defense spending after a coalition in Parliament agreed to add 1.5 billion kroner (USD 223 million) to the already agreed-upon defense budget for 2023, which would put defense spending at 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product for that year. The US spends about 3.4 of its GDP on defence.
Trump abruptly cancelled his planned September 2-3 visit to Denmark on Tuesday, after Frederiksen had called Trump's idea to buy Greenland "an absurd discussion".
Trump said her comment "was nasty. I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to say was say, 'No, we wouldn't be interested.'" Frederiksen said the US remains one of Denmark's close allies.
The political brouhaha over the world's largest island comes from its strategic location in the Arctic. Global warming is making Greenland more accessible to potential oil and mineral resources.