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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  August 16, 2019 7:45pm-8:01pm PDT

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so president trump has been asking about buying greenland. the world's largest island which is owned by denmark. but greenlanders have a counteroffer. greenland is not for sale. more tonight from cnn's fred pleitgen who's there. >> reporter: seems like a lot of folks here in greenland seem to almost be mocking president trump's alleged idea to acquire this territory or possibly somehow purchase it.
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the government of greenland has come out and said, quote, greenland is not for sale. and local folks here in the southeast of the country we've been speaking to said, look, this is something america tried in the past, 1867 when there apparently was a push and the time shortly after world war ii and one resident said it simply isn't going to happen. now on the face of it, it might not be such a crazy idea for america to want to do this. greenland apparently does have very vast natural resources that the chinese have been trying to get their hands on through some chinese companies. it's obviously not something that america is very fond of. and it's also a pretty strategic place for america as well. there's a big air base that the u.s. has here in the northwest of greenland. however, if the greenlanders really do have all these natural resources, they can get to them and exploit them. the first thing they'll want is their own independence from denmark. right now, they're semiautonomous. if president trump really wants to have greenland, one thing he'll probably have to do is really acknowledge that the
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global climate crisis is real. you can see behind me there's a lot of icebergs that you see here. this has been one of the warmest summers that greenland has had on record. fred pleitgen, cnn, in southeastern greenland. >> i want to talk about president trump's interest in buying greenland with samantha vinograd, philip bump and michael d'antonio who's also the author of "the truth about trump" and before we're even beginning, all their heads are shaking as we contemplate we're going to talk this friday night about possibly guying greenland. michael, it's shocking, it's shocking right now, apparently the people of greenland have an issue with this. what could possibly be the issue? >> you think there's one thing or one person not for sale on this entire planet, well, it turns out to be greenland and all the people who live there. the president once told me that he has a genetic gift for land. you tell me how a person can have a genetic gift for land. i think it means that he sees everything as transactional, as
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something he can acquire, but he also has no sense of history, of the fact that, you know, the era of the united states going all over the world, buying the philippines, you know, this is over. we are not a colonial power. we're -- we're actually a member of a community of nations, and this is a challenge for a man who sees himself in singular terms. he's the one who wants to go around the globe and tell everybody what it is. he admired the real estate in north korea. >> i think it was beachfront property he talked about. >> right. >> sam, i tell you, greenland's min stre of foreign affairs tweeted today, "we're open for business. not for sale." and esperson, the foreign affairs spokesman for the danish people's party had this to say. "if it is true that he works with those thoughts, then it is definitive proof that he has gone crazy. i must say it as it is, the idea that denmark should sell 50,000
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citizens to the united states is completely insane." so, there's the property aspect, sam, then there's the notion of people actually inhabit greenland. what do you think? >> well, let's keep in mind also that denmark is an ally of the united states. they're a nato ally. we're wasting time with our nato ally . let's be clear. integrity has never been president trump's hill to die on. he is a cheap date when it comes to even outsourcing his politics to bebe netanyahu, when he asked him to ban the entry of muslim congresswomen from entering israel. >> phillip, i have to ask you, there's been this record,
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obviously a record ice melt in greenland just in year alone, and yet the president doesn't truly acknowledge the notion of climate change, that it's some kind of a hoax. is he going to have to acknowledge it if he's trying to capitalize by trying to purchase greenland or is it a red herring? >> we're talking about greenland in part because greenland is home to natural climates and a comment was made referring to the arctic as the new north coast of the united states. the arctic will play an increasing role in geo politics as ice starts to melt. i think this year is on tracking to the fastest melt that we've seen so far. greenland becomes much more strategically important in this case and that resources will become more available and it is more strategically important as
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the climb atwarmate warms and a same time, trump doesn't acknowledge that climate change is even happening. >> to all of your points, greenland is really important but you don't have to purchase greenland to make it a strategic asset. we have a military base there, not only because russian missiles can be detected from our military base in greenland. as you mentioned, russia, china, the united states are all vying for superiority in the arctic region but you don't have to buy the place. why don't you just sit down and talk to the authorities in greenland. even talk to denmark and think about how to use it most wisely. >> you know him very well, michael. why wouldn't the president just simply talk and exert that effort to exploit or capitalize or have a diplomacy relationship, why not do that? >> you said he'd have to talk with them. he doesn't talk with people. he barks at them, he threatens
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them, he bellos but doesn't talk and negotiate. and the other word you used was diplomatic. he'd have to have a diplomatic exchange and might even have to listen to his advisers. this is a person who is very impulsive. even if on monday he says a, if on tuesday he says i was wrong about a, it was really b and on wednesday he goes back to a. if he can't bully or somehow bluster his way to a result, he doesn't know how to get there. >> is a purchase like this all about the president's legacy? there's reasons why this is absurd? is it really about self-absorption? >> it's possible. he doesn't understand the mechanics of international power either. he says there's land, what do you do with land, you buy land. one of the things that greenland
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should be happy about, they run the risk of going bankrupt if donald trump buys it. look at north korea the same way, everything is looking at it through the lens of his 40 years of experience in the real estate industry. that's the safest assumption here. >> the former presidential candidate and montana governor, steve bullock, he's still running for president is having a little bit of fun. his campaign launched a web site, are democrats right here to pounce on this as outlandish? >> there are so many things to pounce on as outlandish. where does one even start today? there's actually a real foreign policy point to be made here. the president of the united states is sitting around asking
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members of his team to look into the legalities of buying greenland. we cannot even secure our own country right now. the territory that donald trump controls. and he's talking about purchasing more territory. like let's focus on controlling what we have. and the presidential candidates should point out that president trump is making foreign policy blunders across the board and spending his time talking about buying greenland rather than, i don't know, sitting down with his advisers and talking about the arctic competition that's under way, what russia and china are doing. let's devote more attention to that and less attention to this folly that's occupying some of his time and a lot of ours. >> a case for presidential priorities. thank you to all of you, your time. i appreciate it. president trump is using the power of his office to attack democratic congresswomen. will his strategy of governing by grievance still work with
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