Swedes have been scratching their heads and ridiculing President Donald Trump’s remarks that suggested a major terror incident had happened in their country.
During a downright surreal rally in Florida on Saturday, Trump told the audience: “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.”
But it wasn’t clear what he was referring to and there were no high-profile situations reported in Sweden on Friday night.
The comment prompted a barrage of social media reaction, including from former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt, who tweeted: “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound.”
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson said that the government wasn’t aware of any “terror-linked major incidents”.
Meanwhile, Sweden’s security police said it had no reason to change the terror threat level. “Nothing has occurred which would cause us to raise that level,” agency spokesman Karl Melin said.
Axelsson told reporters that the Swedish Embassy in Washington has since contacted the state department to request clarification of Trump’s remarks and was waiting for an answer.
And mocking Trump in an article yesterday, the Gothenburg-based Aftonbladet newspaper wrote, “This happened in Sweden Friday night, Mr President,” and then listed in English some events that included a man being treated for severe burns, an avalanche warning and police chasing a drunken driver.
One Twitter user said: “After the terrible events #lastnightinSweden, Ikea have sold out of this” and posted a mock manual on how to build a “Border Wall”.
Sweden, which has a long reputation for welcoming refugees and migrants, had a record 163,000 asylum applications in 2015. It has since cut back on the number it accepts.
Its most recent attack linked to extremism happened in the capital, Stockholm, in December 2010. An Iraqi-born Swede detonated two explosive devices, including one that killed him but no-one else.
Some commentators have speculated that Trump may have been referring to a segment on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson show broadcast on Thursday about a documentary on Swedish immigration.
The documentary by Ami Horowitz claimed Sweden’s generous immigration policy is linked to a rise in crime, and alleges the government was attempting to cover up the link.