WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s reference to “what’s happening last night in Sweden” during a Saturday rally in Florida raised questions in Sweden and around the internet about what he really meant and where he gets his information.
The President clarified his remarks Sunday, posting on Twitter that his statement “was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.”
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 tweet confirmed suspicions of many that Trump’s remarks stemmed from Tucker Carlson’s show Friday night, in which the host interviewed Ami Horowitz, a filmmaker who has tried to tie Sweden’s taking in of asylum seekers to increased violent crimes in the country.
Within two hours of the President’s post, the official Twitter account of the Embassy of Sweden in the US responded: “We look forward to informing the US administration about Swedish immigration and integration policies.”
We look forward to informing the US administration about Swedish immigration and integration policies. https://t.co/x5G3euOWRh
— Embassy of Sweden US (@SwedeninUSA) February 19, 2017
Trump’s reference to the Scandinavian nation, known for liberally accepting Syrian refugees, originally occurred during his Saturday speech.
“We’ve got to keep our country safe,” 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. You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris.”
The comments appeared to refer to recent terror attacks in Germany and elsewhere, but no such attack has occurred in Sweden. That led some on Twitter to speculate he might have watched the Fox News report.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters earlier Sunday the President was “talking about rising crime and recent incidents in general and not referring to a specific incident.”
She reiterated that Trump did not mean to say “last night” but was referring to the rise in crime in the country.
Meanwhile, the official Swedish embassy responded to those asking about what happened Friday night by saying: “Unclear to us what President Trump was referring to. Have asked US officials for explanation.”
Carl Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister, also questioned the President’s statement on Twitter.
“Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking?” Bildt tweeted. “Questions abound.”
Trump’s remark is the latest misplaced reference to a terrorist attack or incident by those in his White House. Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway inaccurately referred to a “Bowling Green massacre” that never took place, and White House press secretary Sean Spicer referred to an attack in Atlanta, later clarifying that he meant to refer to Orlando.
CNN’s Allie Malloy contributed to this story.