Letter to the editor: Danish prime minister being childish
Recently, media outlets including The New York Times have printed articles about a minor dustup between Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and President Trump. The gist of these articles is that Trump overreacted to Frederiksen’s innocent comment that any idea about the purchase of Greenland, a semi-autonomous part of Denmark, was “absurd.” Frederiksen’s viewpoint is that Trump does not understand that “the time when you buy and sell other countries and populations is over.”
Frederiksen may be correct about what countries may do today, but if Trump genuinely does not understand this, then how innocent is it to call the idea “absurd”? In a classroom discussion, if a student introduces an idea that is unrealistic because the student does not understand something, the teacher would be rightly castigated if he or she called the student’s idea “absurd.” Instead, the teacher would be expected to explain why the student’s idea probably would not work. To call it “absurd” is a derogatory remark directed at the speaker, not at the idea.
Frederiksen saw an opportunity to burnish her “sophisticated” image to a woke Danish population that is unhappy with her anti-immigration initiatives. She is like the cool kid who gets credit for insulting someone in class who as isn’t as cool as those in the in-group are. And now, when Trump calls her on it, and cancels a trip to Denmark, she feigns ignorance that what she did that was wrong — just as a child does.
Andrew N. Mewbourn