One of former President Trump’s head-scratching antics as president was his suggestion that the U.S. should buy Greenland, and according to a new book he got the bright idea from an old college friend, New York cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder.
While late-night TV and the internet poked fun at the idea as a passing Trump whim, in reality the idea had been studied internally and the former president even invoked his National Security Council to discuss the matter.
After Lauder, the billionaire heir of Estee-Lauder, planted the idea in Trump’s head, he told his national security adviser: ‘A friend of mine, a really, really experienced businessman, thinks we can get Greenland.’
‘What do you think?’ Trump asked.
That and other explosive revelations from Trump’s presidency are revealed in a forthcoming book from New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker and New Yorker staff writer Susan Glasser, ‘The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021.’
One of former President Trump’s head-scratching antics as president was his suggestion that the U.S. should buy Greenland, and according to a new book he got the bright idea from an old college friend, New York cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder
Lauder discussed the plan from the early days of the presidency and even offered himself as a back channel to the Danish government to negotiate. The Danes, however, were not pleased with the idea.
A special team was then assigned to evaluate the prospects, while many baffled aides tried to veer Trump off the path and tried to avoid a leak of the prospect out of fear of a diplomatic snafu.
The former president himself told the forthcoming book’s authors that buying the territory would not have been ‘that different’ than his high-profile real estate purchases for the Trump Organization.
After Lauder, the billionaire heir of Estee-Lauder, planted the idea in Trump’s head, he told his national security adviser: ‘A friend of mine, a really, really experienced businessman, thinks we can get Greenland’
‘I said, “Why don’t we have that?” Trump said of Greenland.
‘You take a look at a map. I’m a real estate developer, I look at a corner, I say, ‘I’ve got to get that store for the building that I’m building,’ etc. It’s not that different.’
The idea eventually fell apart after public ridicule, which ended with Trump joining in on the fun on Twitter: ‘I promise not to do this to Greenland!’ he wrote, along with a meme of rural Greenland with a massive glass Trump tower smacked in the middle.
The former president was also reportedly so paranoid that Iran would retaliate for the US killing of its top general, Qasem Soleimani, that he told guests at a Mar-a-Lago holiday party in 2020 that he was leaving early in fear of an assassination attempt by Tehran.
‘We stopped him and we stopped him quickly and we stopped him cold,’ Trump said at a rally in Toledo, Ohio, that month. ‘He was a bad guy. He was a bloodthirsty terrorist, and he’s no longer a terrorist. He’s dead.’
In private, he was more fearful of the consequences, reportedly telling friends he needed to get back to Washington where he would be ‘safer.’
Rarely restrained in his commentary either in public or in private, Trump also reportedly told people around him that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was an example of why women should be careful with plastic surgery and said he would not pick Nikki Haley, his United Nations ambassador, as a running mate because she had a ‘complexion problem.’
In other excerpts of the book, Trump belittled his son-in-law Jared Kushner as only being concerned about his ‘New York liberal crowd.’
Melania Trump also reportedly told her husband he was ‘blowing’ the United States COVID-19 response, a new report suggested on Wednesday.
The former first lady had been ‘rattled by the coronavirus and convinced that [Donald] Trump was screwing up,’ the book claims.
In a phone call with former Trump ally Chris Christie, Melania reportedly recalled telling him that she said to her husband, ‘You’re blowing this.’ She apparently pleaded with Christie to help convince Trump to take the pandemic more seriously.
She said she told Trump, ‘This is serious. It’s going to be really bad, and you need to take it more seriously than you’re taking it.’
But he did little more than brush her off, according to the book.
”You worry too much,’ Trump replied. ‘Forget it.’
Among the bombshells were also concerns held by Trump’s top general, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mark Milley, that the ex-president would order an attack on Iran on his way out the White House door.
And according to the authors, it was one of Trump’s staffers who gave him the idea.
‘Milley at the time told his staff it was a ‘What the f*** are these guys talking about?’ moment,’ the book claims.
Melania Trump reportedly told her husband of the pandemic, ‘This is serious. It’s going to be really bad, and you need to take it more seriously than you’re taking it’
Trump reportedly told his wife to ‘forget it’ in response to her concerns
But that’s not the only time the ex-president has inspired national security fears among his advisers.
After Trump publicly sided with Russia’s Vladimir Putin over US intelligence agencies that accused the Kremlin of meddling in American elections, the national intelligence director privately wondered to ‘associates’ about what the two leaders’ relationship was.
‘I never could come to a conclusion. It raised the question in everybody’s mind: What does Putin have on him that causes him to do something that undermines his credibility?’ then-DNI Dan Coats allegedly said.
In the Middle East, Trump is reported to have given Jordan’s King Abdullah II such a shock by offering him the West Bank that the monarch told a friend he believed he was having a heart attack.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mark Milley reportedly told his staff that he had ‘a ‘What the f*** are these guys talking about?’ moment’ when a former Trump staffer advised the president to attack Iran
And while Trump’s foreign chops were recognized by late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s nomination of him for a Nobel Peace Prize, the book claims that the ex-president had a hand in pushing that, too.
A former senior Trump aide told the authors, ‘The President asked Abe over dinner to nominate him.’
Other revelations include newly-uncovered messages by top Trump officials that depicts the White House in a state of chaos during the 2018 midterm elections.
‘Ok for the first time I am actually scared for the country. The insanity has been loosed,’ then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wrote to a colleague.
She also apparently said that Trump’s secretaries of Defense, Education and Labor were all threatening to resign.
Looking ahead to his future potential 2024 campaign, the former president did not say if he would run but poured cold water on the chances that he would run with Mike Pence again.
The reason was Pence’s failure to stop the 2020 election results – Trump’s defeat – from being certified by Congress.
‘It would be totally inappropriate,’ Trump told the authors. ‘Mike committed political suicide by not taking votes that he knew were wrong.’