President Donald Trump clarified his Saturday rally comment of “look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” with a tweet on Sunday saying that his statement was in reference to a segment on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” about the debate over crime in Sweden and its possible connection to the Scandinavian country’s open-door refugee policy.
Swedes have reacted online with a mix of bemusement and anger at the president’s strange attempt to use them as a part of an attack against European refugee policies. The Swedish embassy in Washington asked the White House for an explanation shortly after the rally.
“We’ve got to keep our country safe,” said Trump. “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
My statement as to what’s happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2017
The segment, which was aired by Fox News on Friday night, featured an interview between Tucker Carlson and Ami Horowitz, a filmmaker who recently made a documentary about the rise in crime in Sweden seemingly because of the country’s open door policy to admitting refugees.
But according to the 2016 Swedish Crime Survey, crime rates have remained generally consistent over the past decade. 25 percent of Swedes who took the survey said they had a “great concern” about crime in 2015, up from 22 percent the previous year but down from 29 percent in 2006.
turns out “what happened last night in Sweden” actually just means “last night I was watching Tucker Carlson talk about Sweden” pic.twitter.com/6z5pfOJ7Yv
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) February 19, 2017
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom alluded to Trump’s comments in a Twitter post that contained an excerpt of a speech she made last week that called on leaders to “respect science, facts and the media.”
“In 2016, ‘post-truth’ was named Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries,” the excerpt read in Swedish. “Both functioning democracy and constructive cooperation between states require us to speak with, and not about, each other, to honor agreements and to allow ideas to compete. They also require us to respect science, facts and the media, and to acknowledge each other’s wisdom.”
Meanwhile, Swedes and Americans alike took to Twitter to mock the comments with the hashtag #LastNightInSweden:
So Trump said “just look at what happened last night in sweden” and we in sweden are like pic.twitter.com/sysmhXSxTN
– ö ❄️ (@fullmooncon) February 19, 2017
– Red T Raccoon (@RedTRaccoon) February 19, 2017
– Jeanna Skinner (@JeannaLStars) February 19, 2017
BREAKING: Terror organisation Al-IKEA has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks that occurred last night in Sweden.
– Ines Helene (@inihelene) February 19, 2017