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Rick Steelhammer: The Orange and the Greenland -- The biggest mix-up that you have ever seen

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It may never be known exactly why President Donald Trump has decided that the idea of buying Greenland, an autonomous country aligned with Denmark, is worth pursuing, as first reported last week by The Wall Street Journal.

Did the president accidentally open a briefing book, glimpse a map and decide he liked the name of the place, admired its vast shoreline and envisioned all the beach resorts that could be developed there — as in North Korea?

Did he like the idea of buying the biggest island in the world to shower its 57,000 residents with new infrastructure and federal jobs, instead of paper towel rolls, to make the ingrates in Puerto Rico jealous?

Or has the president unexpectedly started to accept global warming as reality, making it wise for the U.S. to stock up on a whole lot of ice, ASAP?

I suspect that the geography-challenged commander-in-chief had no idea that Greenland, despite its name, (and despite climate change) remains, for the moment, 70 percent covered by the largest ice cap this side of Antarctica.

Or maybe he was drawn to the name of one of the country’s two official national anthems, Nunarput Isiilasooq, which translates as “The Land of Great Length.”

I wouldn’t want to be the staffer who had to explain to the president that most of the land he wants to buy is frozen and uninhabitable.

“Then why do they call it Greenland?” I imagine the president asking. “They should have called it Iceland!”

If the president’s attention could be held long enough, the aide would reply that the name “Iceland” was already taken. Then he would explain that when Erik the Red landed on a barely habitable strip of land on the island’s west coast back in the 10th century, he needed more Norsemen (and women) to join him to establish a successful colony. So he turned to creative real estate marketing and named the place “Greenland,” to make it sound more inviting.

That’s a concept Trump should have no difficulty grasping.

“Well, maybe we should just rent it first,” I can imagine the president telling his aide. “You know — to see if we like it.”

“A great man once wrote in ‘The Art of the Deal’ that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make,” I imagine the aide replying.

Then Trump would snap his fingers and respond:

“What if we make the Mexicans buy it?”

Reach Rick Steelhammer at, 304-348-5169 or follow

@rsteelhammer on Twitter.

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