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.
Trump referenced the Scandinavian nation, known for liberally accepting Syrian refugees, during a section of his speech decrying the dangers of open borders.
“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.”
Trump appeared to be referring to recent terror attacks in Germany and elsewhere, but no such attack has occurred in Sweden. The White House did not immediately respond Sunday morning to questions about what Trump meant.
On Twitter, many speculated that Trump, who is a well-chronicled consumer of television news, might have been watching a segment on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show Friday night.
Carlson interviewed Ami Horowitz, a filmmaker who has tried to tie Sweden’s taking in of asylum seekers to increased violent crimes in the country.
Carl Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister, questioned the president’s statement on Twitter.
“Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking?” Bildt tweeted. “Questions abound.”
Trump responded on Sunday.
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
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, Fla.