Swedish premier ‘surprised’ by Trump’s remarks on ‘immigration problems’
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has expressed “surprise” at recent remarks by US President Donald Trump, who linked an imaginary rise in violence and a nonexistent terror attack in Sweden to intake of refugees.
“I was, like many others I believe, surprised by the comments made about Sweden this weekend,” Lofven stated during a joint press conference in Stockholm on Monday with visiting Canadian Governor General David Johnston.
The Swedish premier was referring to an address by Trump at a weekend rally in Orlando, Florida, where he said, “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
Lofven further said, “We have opportunities; we have challenges; we’re working (on) them every day. But I think also we must all take responsibility for using facts correctly, and for verifying any information that we spread.”
Trump’s false reference to a supposed terror attack in the Scandinavian country on Friday evening confused many and triggered much mockery on social media, prompting former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt to suggest that the American president is on drugs.
“Last year there were app 50% more murders only in Orlando/Orange in Florida, where Trump spoke the other day, than in all of Sweden. Bad!” Bildt further said in another tweet on Monday.
Orlando, alone, was the location of an attack in June on a club that left 49 people dead. Sweden registers about 100 homicides per year.
However, Trump tweeted further criticism of Sweden’s immigration policies on Monday, saying, “The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!”
Some observers initially reasoned that Trump may have confused Sweden with the Pakistani city of Sehwan where a terror attack had killed scores, but as it turned out he had watched an interview on Fox News with right-wing documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz, who is known as an Islamophobic activist.
Horowitz spoke in the Fox interview about an attack “not long ago” and derided Sweden for allowing a wave of refugee-fueled crimes, including a jump in the country’s rape rate.
However, that attack had actually taken place in 2010, not anytime recently, and long before the war in Syria triggered a flow of refugees towards Europe.