Donald Trump's presidency reached a new low on Saturday after he referred to a "terror attack" in Sweden, which actually never happened. Speaking to a gathering in Florida, Trump refered to the "attack" in Sweden to justify his policy on curbing immigration to the United States.
According to a report in The Guardian, Trump might have confused himself with another attack which took place in Pakistan's Sehwan on Thursday, which killed over 80 people. His confusion could have potentially created diplomatic tensions between US and another friendly nation. However, The White House, sensing the blunder, went into an overdrive to clarify that Trump's statement referred to the "rising crimes" by immigrants in Sweden.
“We’ve got to keep our country safe. 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," Trump had told his supporters.
However, Trump's gaffe did not go well with Swedes. Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven said that he was "surprised" by US President Trump's remarks linking the arrival of a wave of migrants with a supposed rise in violence in the Scandinavian country. "I was, like many others I believe, surprised by the comments made about Sweden this weekend."
An official Twitter handle of Sweden, currently being run by a user named Max, took it on himself to slam Trump.
No. Nothing has happened here in Sweden. There has not ben any terrorist attacks here. At all. The main news right now is about Melfest. ->
— @sweden / Max (@sweden) February 19, 2017
Goodnight! Have a face-palm from me. Going to bed now. Rest assured that ALL IS FINE HERE! *falls headfirst in bed* pic.twitter.com/bIzUKmtmVa
— @sweden / Max (@sweden) February 19, 2017
Former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt was baffled by the response to his tweet questioning trump's statement.
Substantial. 25.000 RT's and 34.000 likes on my yesterday tweet questioning what President Trump is talking about concerning Sweden. — Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 20, 2017
He also had some nasty advise for Trump.
Just a piece of friendly advice: when you are in a hole, stop digging.
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 20, 2017
The Swedish Embassy in the United States looks eager to teach Trump administration a thing or two about the country's immigration policy.
Some on Twitter have made light of the latest trump gaffe.
— Postfaktisch🇪🇺 (@piarism) February 19, 2017
— Jonathan Beeley 🔹 (@foreignpolicy77) February 19, 2017
Repeatedly lying to voters creates panic and fear. It takes one event like #Nazi #enablingact for an explosion. #SwedenIncident #jesuisikea pic.twitter.com/sAJO6qaIzU — Jonathan Beeley 🔹 (@foreignpolicy77) February 19, 2017
However, despite receiving flak for his comment, "The Donald" has stuck to his guns, blaming the "fake media" for not reporting the "crisis" in Sweden correctly.
Give the public a break - The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2017
Unlike many administrators, who would like to base their comments on official intelligence briefings, Trump being Trump chose to make a comment based on what he watched on his favourite news channel Fox News.
However such "alternative facts" are not the forte of just Trump. His counsellor, Kellyanne Conway, too referred to a non-existent terror attack in the US to justify the administration's move to ban immigrants. Speaking to MSNBC, Conway blamed two Iraqi immigrants for the attack on the 'Bowling Green Massacre". However, later she tweeted that she meant "terrorists" and not a "massacre."
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) February 3, 2017
This is not the first time that Trump is on the line of fire. Earlier too, the TV celebrity-turned politician took to Twitter to create a flutter in the international community with his ill-conceived messages. On 2 February, Trump took to Twitter to condemn an Australian refugee deal after his telephonic chat with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. His tweet calling the deal "dumb" caused a storm in the diplomatic circles and could potentially fracture the budding anti-China alliance building in the Pacific.
Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
The first major controversy that Trump courted was in December 2016, when he spoke to Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen over phone.
The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2016
However, Trump quickly came up with a justification for his phone call.
Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2016
It is worth remembering that US has no official ties with Taiwan since the mid-1970s, when Washington recognised Beijing as the sole representative of China.
Trump administration's habit of first creating a storm and then issuing a Twitter justification/clarification it seems would be a constant for the next four years.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Feb 21, 2017 14:18 PM