During a Saturday rally in Florida, President Donald Trump alluded to a terrorist attack in Sweden during his remarks. However, there was no Sweden terrorist attack in recent days or recent years.
While talking about refugees policies in Europe, Trump used Germany and Sweden as examples of countries that had been burdened by an abundance of refugees and immigrants. However, during his Florida statements, President Trump made an odd reference to a Sweden attack.
The New York Times reports that Trump told his supporters, “You look at what’s happening,” Trump began. “We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”
The remarks about a terror attack in Sweden left many Swedes baffled as they struggled to figure out what President Trump could have meant by referencing a Sweden attack. Sweden’s first terror attack happened in 2010 when a suicide bomber injured two people in central Stockholm. The attacker, Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, was a Swedish citizen who had sympathies for Al Qaeda.
However, Sweden’s 2010 terrorist attack happened before the spate of European attacks from 2014 to 2016. Sweden’s attack also happened before the refugee crisis in Syria peaked, and the EU began accepting larger numbers of refugees.
Because Trump’s statements were delivered without any reasonable evidence, it caused people in Sweden, the United States, and across the world to ask, “What happened in Sweden last night?” The short answer is absolutely nothing, but Twitter was quick to chastise President Trump for his misleading statements about a Sweden attack.
Using the #SwedenIncident hashtag, Twitter users joked about the absurdity of Trump’s claim, but also imagined what the Sweden incident might have looked like if it had actually happened.
Last night in Sweden, everyone was sound asleep while the rabble rouser Trump was stirring up crap at his rally about a #swedenincident .
— Voice of Reason (@raggapegs) February 19, 2017
— James Reader (@JamesReader_RP) February 19, 2017
— Bipartisan Report (@Bipartisanism) February 19, 2017
— Julie Walker (@thewalkingmom82) February 19, 2017
— Chris Smith (@Lilyachttty) February 19, 2017
Authorities have released the victims names in the #SwedenIncident
-A coffee table you got from IKEA in '06
-Two Nokia phones
— Jordan Uhl (@JordanUhl) February 19, 2017
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 19, 2017
Dear worried Americans. Nothing has happened. We're fine over here…better than you actually #swedenincident
— Daniele Marabissi (@marabissi) February 19, 2017
Although many Twitter users are mocking Trump’s statements about a Sweden incident, some are defending his rally statements as fact. Trump supporters have posted alleged rape statistics for Sweden to demonstrate the rise in violent crime since Sweden has begun welcoming more refugees.
However, Sweden has always been a country that is receptive to immigrants and refugees. During World War II, Sweden actively accepted Jewish people fleeing Nazi Germany and continues to accept different groups of people, including, Iranians, Eritreans, Somalis, Kurds and people from what was once Yugoslavia.
Many of the tweets also reference the Bowling Green Massacre, an incident that counselor to the president and frequent talking head Kellyanne Conway referenced during multiple television interviews. The “Bowling Green Massacre,” as Conway called it, was never a massacre, but a situation where law enforcement were able to stop two people who may have been planning terrorist attacks.
Twitter users also reference the “Atlanta attacks,” an error that Press Secretary Sean Spicer made on several occasions. Spicer continued to reference the Atlanta attacks, but when questioned about the mistake, the press secretary said, “I clearly meant Orlando,” about the Pulse nightclub attack where 49 people were killed.
The Trump administration, and Trump himself, has a history of blatantly sensationalizing events, being obtrusive to the point of causing fear, or simply making up incidents. Twitter is still buzzing with talk of the Swedish incident, but it’s unlikely that Trump will back down from his comments.
[Featured Image by Chris O’Meara/AP Images]