Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven didn’t use one of Donald Trump’s favorite phrases, “fake news,” when he scolded the president for his recent comments about Sweden. But he did say that leaders should “take responsibility for using facts correctly and verifying any information that we spread.”
Former prime minister Carl Bildt also warned on a Swedish radio program that a president who “spreads lots of false rumors ... can be truly dangerous,” CBS News reported.
Bildt later emailed The New York Times: “We are used to seeing the president of the U.S. as one of the most well-informed persons in the world, also well aware of the importance of what he says. And then, suddenly, we see him engaging in misinformation and slander against a truly friendly country, obviously relying on sources of a quality [Fox News] that at best could be described as dubious.”
And Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom noted, “Unfortunately, we are seeing a general upward trend in inaccurate information.”
All three were responding to Trump’s comment at a campaign-style rally Saturday in Florida that something had happened in Sweden the previous night as he spoke of European countries that had been hit by terrorist attacks: “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden! Who would believe this?”
Twitter went crazy, and Bildt tweeted: “What has Trump been smoking?”
There was no terrorist attack last Friday in Sweden. Trump later told a puzzled world that what was actually “happening” Friday night was that he was watching a Fox News program, apparently one featuring filmmaker Ami Horowitz (a former Huffington Post contributor), who believes that a purported increase in crime in Sweden is linked to an influx of refugees.
Lofven told reporters at a news conference in Stockholm on Monday that he was, “like many others, surprised by the comments made about Sweden,” reported Agence France-Presse.
Actually, Sweden’s crime rate has remained relatively flat since 2005, according to a Swedish crime survey. Early data released last month also revealed no significant increase in crimes from 2015 to 2016, The New York Times reported, even though Sweden accepted a record number of refugees (162,000) in 2015, more per capita than any other European nation.
But Trump doubled down on his blunder and blamed the press again — this time for allegedly underplaying crime facts that the Swedish government is apparently unaware of. “The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully,” he tweeted Monday. “NOT!”
Bildt tweeted some advice for Trump: “When you are in a hole, stop digging.
The Swedes have offered to introduce the American president to the facts of the immigrant situation in the nation.