UPDATED: Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who’s been dealing with a state budget crisis this week, excused herself from a government conference on Thursday to take a phone call from the new US president-elect, Donald Trump. The two were said to have stressed the value of the close ties between Norway and the US, and the importance that their cooperation continue.
Solberg heads Norway’s Conservative Party, but like most other Norwegian politicians, she was highly skeptical of the conservative Trump during the hostile US election campaign. “Many of the statements Trump has made have been extremely worrisome, among other things those involving NATO and nuclear weapons,” Solberg said last summer. She hastened to add, however, that “a Norwegian prime minister shall not warn against or support candidates in other countries.”
Solberg had quickly congratulated Trump
She ended up congratulating Trump shortly after he narrowly won the election through the US electoral college. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, won the popular vote.
In their conversation on Thursday, “Solberg took up the security situation, and the incoming president emphasized the US’ cooperation with Norway as a central NATO ally,” Trude Måseide, communications chief at the Office of the Prime Minister, told newspaper VG. Trump also is said to have given his full support to NATO and and thanked Norway for its contributions towards fighitn the extremist group IS and international terrorism.
“Trump said that he looked forward to meet after he takes office,” Måseide told VG. Given the current budget crisis in Norway, it’s unclear whether he’ll be meeting Solberg or the Norwegian Labour Party’s Jonas Gahr Støre, who’s in line to take over as prime minister if Solberg’s government collapses over the lack of a state budget.
If Støre suddenly finds himself leading a new government in Norway, Trump would be meeting a Norwegian politician who was even more skeptical than Solberg. Støre, who had a close relationship with Clinton when he was foreign minister in Norway’s former left-center government and she was US Secretary of State, went so far as to say last summer, at the height of the vicious campaign in the US, that Trump was “dangerous.”
Online news service Nettavisen, which was first to report on Trump’s call to Solberg on Thursday, made a point of noting that Trump’s call came more than three weeks after the election, and that he’d already called the prime ministers of Sweden and Denmark before taking time to contact Norway.