My fellow Swedes and I woke up to a very strange news story today. Apparently, there had been some incident to the likes of a terror attack on Friday evening that none of us had heard about. Luckily, Donald Trump very kindly opened our eyes when 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?” in Florida. Well, I don’t believe it, neither does the Swedish government or any fact-checkers. We literally have no idea what Trump is talking about since absolute nothing major had happened in Sweden last night or the night before.
Trump mentioned Sweden while talking about the dangers of taking in refugees and for some reason decided that his speech needed a made-up attack. As he spoke about the terror attacks in Nice and Paris, he mentioned that something had happened “last night” which suggests that something similar to what happened in Nice and Paris happened here in Sweden. This raised a lot of questions as we are pretty sure that we, as a country, would have noticed if a tragedy like the attacks in France had happened.
Carl Bildt, who has been both Sweden’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, tweeted this earlier today:
Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound. https://t.co/XWgw8Fz7tj
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 19, 2017
His tweet really captures the confusion in Sweden today as everyone tried to figure out what he was referring to. Now, the Swedish Government has asked Trump to explain what he was talking about. Our embassy in Washington has reached out to the State Department for a clarification since the false statement could have serious consequences for us. People could start believing that a terrorist attack happened in Sweden on Friday even though there absolutely wasn’t one.
This isn’t the first time a U.S. president has made up a fact about Sweden. In the 1960s, President Eisenhower falsely claimed that Sweden had the highest suicide rate in the world. That information was false, but people continue to believe it to this day.
Many are pointing to the fact that this is the second time that Trump and his administration have made up an attack since Trump took office only a month ago. Earlier this year, Kellyanne Conway referred to “the Bowling Green massacre” when there had never been a massacre in Bowling Green, Colorado.
Trump and his administration continue to fabricate tragedies to further their own agenda, and that is completely unacceptable. You can’t just claim that serious attacks happened, that people died, and that refugees are to blame, especially not when you are president.
The only thing that happened last night in Sweden was that Trump gave newspapers something to joke about, and nothing more.