WASHINGTON — In the days after news of President Donald Trump’s interest in purchasing Greenland emerged, the idea was derided as “absurd,” “completely insane” and “an April Fool’s Day joke.”

Now, one Republican senator has declared that he not only agrees — but he already pitched the idea to Denmark.

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas proposed the idea to the Danish ambassador to the U.S. in August 2018, in a meeting in the senator’s office that had been arranged to discuss the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, according to a spokeswoman for Cotton.

The ambassador, Lone Dencker Wisborg, was “caught a little off guard,” said the senator’s spokeswoman, Caroline Tabler. After Cotton laid out the reasons why the U.S. would want to purchase Greenland, an ice-covered autonomous Danish territory between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, the conversation “moved on,” Tabler said.

Cotton also raised the matter with Trump last year, though it is unclear whether that is where the president first got the idea. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the president’s interest in buying Greenland, previously reported that the president has been asking his advisers about possibly purchasing the island since at least last spring.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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