Undeterred, Pompeo tried again with the foreign minister of the Faroe Islands, who also declined.
The third time was not quite the charm: Pompeo and the foreign minister of Greenland successfully navigated an elbow bump.
The diplomats in question were all in proximity to one another and did exchange some shoulder pats.
Denmark does not have a major novel coronavirus outbreak, while the United States has far and away the most confirmed cases in the world.
Mask-wearing in Denmark is neither mandatory nor common. The country has contained its outbreak with relative success, confirming about 13,000 infections and 611 deaths related to the pandemic.
President Trump had repeatedly belittled the accepted benefits of wearing masks and refused to don one in public. On Monday, he tweeted a photo of himself wearing a mask during an earlier visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and called mask wearing patriotic, in a notable shift in messaging.
Under Trumps leadership, mask-wearing in the United States has become a politicized issue. Around the world, more and more countries are making masks mandatory, and many of the countries that did so early have fared better than those that didnt.
Some world leaders and top officials have struggled to follow rules and recommendations meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus. In the two weeks before he first reported coronavirus symptoms on July 5, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who tested positive for the virus, consistently flouted health recommendations, The Washington Post found.
Earlier in the pandemic, several British officials courted controversy by traveling domestically when the government was asking people to stay home.
No discussion of buying Greenland, but Pompeo underscores U.S. interest in the Arctic during Denmark trip
Pompeos visit to Denmark, part of a trip that also included a stop in London, marks his first time in the country since Trump caused a diplomatic spat last year by stating his desire to buy Greenland, which led to the cancellation of a state visit.