Swedes Scratch Heads at President Trump’s Suggestion of Major Incident

HELSINKI (AP) -
President Donald Trump speaks with reporters aboard Air Force One on his way to a “Make America Great Again” rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, Feb. 18. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Swedes have been scratching their heads and ridiculing President Donald Trump’s remark that suggested a major incident had happened in Sweden.

During a rally in Florida on Saturday, Trump said “look what’s happening last night in Sweden” as he alluded to past terror attacks in Europe.

The comment prompted a barrage of social media reaction on Sunday, with hundreds of tweets, and a local newspaper published a list of events that happened on Friday that appeared to have no connections to any terror-like activity.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson said that the government wasn’t aware of any “terror-linked major incidents.” 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.

The Aftonbladet tabloid addressed President Trump in an article Sunday, “This happened in Sweden Friday night, Mr President,” and listed in English some events that had happened in Sweden, including a man being treated for severe burns, an avalanche warning and police chasing a drunken driver.

Sweden, which has a long reputation for welcoming refugees and migrants, had a record 163,000 asylum applications in 2015 and it has since cut back on the number it annually accepts. Its most recent attack was in the capital, Stockholm, in December 2010, when an Iraqi-born Swede detonated two devices, including one that killed him but no one else.

At the rally, President Trump told his followers to look what was happening in Germany, and also mentioned Paris, Brussels and Nice, in apparent reference to the terror attacks there. He didn’t specify what was supposed to have happened in Sweden, simply saying “Sweden, who would believe this, Sweden.”