US President Donald Trump’s reference to Sweden has ignited a social media firestorm. On Saturday, the President implied during a campaign rally that something nefarious had recently taken place in the small Nordic nation. Now, Swedes and global netizens alike are scratching their heads, trying to figure out what happened in the Scandinavian country.
The remarks in question were part of the POTUS’ Florida rally speech. Addressing the refugee situation in Europe, he enumerated the countries that have suffered violence related to migration. “We’ve got to keep our country safe,” he said, per NBC News. “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”
He told the congregation the country took in large numbers of refugees and are now facing problems they never thought possible. He also cited Brussels and Paris which have previously experienced terror attacks. Fairly speaking, the president never said Sweden has suffered such attacks but by the context of his statement, it seems like he thinks the nation did.
Did He Peddle Fake News?
Hundreds of social media users have quickly turned to Swedish newspapers and the country’s official Twitter accounts to check whether an attack had indeed taken place in the country. The @Sweden account, which according to Al Jazeera different people run the account each week, debunked Trump’s claim.
“There has been no terror attack at all. None,” Emma, a librarian in charge of the page this week, said. Following the confirmation, netizens quickly ridiculed the Trump Sweden remarks on social media, accusing him of fabricating the incident. Even the former Sweden prime minister, Carl Bildt, tweeted his bafflement.
Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound. https://t.co/XWgw8Fz7tj
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 19, 2017
Trump Sweden Remarks: Here’s The Truth!
CNN reports the President clarified his remarks on Sunday. He wrote on his Twitter account that he mentioned the Scandinavian country because of an interview that Fox News aired Friday. The program saw filmmaker Ami Horowitz telling host Tucker Carlson that Sweden has been suffering from a wave of crimes committed by migrants, which are then allegedly covered up.
“Sweden had its first terrorist Islamic attack not that long ago,” Horowitz told Carlson. “So they’re now getting a taste of what we’ve been seeing across Europe already.”
Two hours after the President’s clarification, the US Embassy of Sweden’s official Twitter account posted a response. It wrote they “look forward to informing” the Trump administration about its “immigration and integration policies.”
Sweden has a reputation for welcoming asylum seekers and migrants, recording 163,000 refugee applications in 2015. But it has since cut back on the number it accepts annually.
Its most recent attack linked to extremism happened in Stockholm back in December 2010 when an Iraqi-born Swede detonated two explosive devices, injuring two civilians. But the incident happened before and is unassociated with the current refugee crisis.
The Trump Sweden remarks prompted several hashtag trends on Twitter including #swedenincident, #LastNightInSweden, and #PrayForSweden. His statement comes not long after his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway cited a nonexistent “Bowling Green massacre” in several news interviews.