On Monday morning, former Swedish PM Carl Bildt took a fresh swipe at Trump in connection with his eyebrow-raising comments about an imaginary terrorist attack in Sweden, which the president had said at a Florida rally that it occurred Friday.
Bildt tweeted that the Florida counties Trump visited during the rally had higher murder rates than Sweden. The former prime minister cited last year’s statistics on the country’s crime rates.
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.
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 20, 2017
Furthermore, one of the largest mass shooting in the history of the United States happened at an Orlando night club last year where an Islamic extremist gunned down 49 people. The shooter, Omar Mateen, died in a shootout with law enforcement shortly after the incident.
Reportedly, Mateen told a 911 dispatcher during the attack that he was performing the attack on behalf of ISIS. And Trump told his supporters in Florida that Sweden’s leniency towards Muslim immigrants triggered a terror attack last week, which is not true.
In a previous tweet, Bildt expressed surprise and confusion about Trump’s fake attack.
What has he been smoking?,
the former Swedish official tweeted.
Trump said that he made the remarks after he watched a Fox News documentary on immigration and crime rates in Sweden. The documentary indeed linked climbing crime rates with a surge in Muslim immigrants in the European country. Reuters, on the other hand, found Swedish crime rates have dropped in the last 12 years despite more refugee admissions.
On Saturday, Trump said at the Florida rally that Americans need to keep their country safe. He mentioned Germany and Sweden as two countries that took in many refugees and this led to a surge in terrorist attacks.
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,
the president said at the rally.
On Monday, Trump took to Twitter to complain about the dishonest media that tries to convince the public “large scale immigration” has turned out to be a success in the Scandinavian country.
Give the public a break – The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2017
However, the Trump White House has made similar comments on separate occasions. Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway cited a “Bowling Green massacre” which never happened, while the administration’s press secretary Sean Spicer said there was a terrorist attack in Atlanta when he meant to say Orlando.
Sweden demanded from the White House an explanation, so, on Sunday, a U.S. spokesperson said Trump was referring to climbing crime rates in general not to a particular incident. She added that the president didn’t want to say “last night.”
The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs noted that the country’s diplomats are striving to promote a “fair image” of the country but there is now a trend of spreading “inaccurate information”.
Swedes were baffled by the U.S. president’s remarks and took to Twitter to comment on the incident. One driver in Stockholm couldn’t help but wonder whether “[had] somebody stolen our meatballs?” One user pointed out that a lot of things happened “last night” in Sweden, but not the things Trump was spreading. Another twitterer said the entire incident was like “an episode of Seinfeld.”
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