US President Donald Trump has tried to clarify his comments about a non-existent terror incident in Sweden. He said his remarks referred to a television report on immigrants.
President Trump's comments about Sweden at a rally in Florida at the weekend caused confusion in the Scandinavian state.
"You look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden," Trump said. "They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible," he continued, implying the country had been the victim of a terrorist attack.
Sweden's official Twitter account, which is "curated" by private citizens, responded confirming that "nothing has happened" and that "all is fine here," but the school librarian monitoring the account wrote her appreciation for apologetic comments from US citizens.
I've gotten so many tweets similar to this. Of US-people apologizing for their president. And I just find that horribly sad. :-/ https://t.co/dsRV58M6kv— @sweden / Emma (@sweden) 19 Φεβρουαρίου 2017
Former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt was more direct, asking "what has he been smoking? Questions abound."
Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound. https://t.co/XWgw8Fz7tj— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) 19 Φεβρουαρίου 2017
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that his statement was in reference to a Fox News report on
immigrants and Sweden. On Friday, the network had aired an interview with documentary film maker Ami Horowitz about the alleged effects of immigration in Sweden.
A number of officials have dismissed the documentary which alleges a rise in violent crime after a rise in the number of refugees coming to the country. Official statistics show that Sweden's crime rate has fallen since 2005 even as it has taken in hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
With a population of around 9.5 million, Sweden has taken in nearly 200,000 refugees, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. The policy has meant the Scandinavian country has taken in more refugees per capita than any other European nation.
The Swedish Embassy to the US tweeted on Sunday that it looked "forward to informing the US administration about Swedish immigration and integration policies."
Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom posted an excerpt of a speech in which she said democracy and diplomacy "require us to respect science, facts and the media."
As part of the online response to Trump's comments, there has been a search for actual events in Sweden last Friday under the hashtag #lastnightinsweden. They ranged from preliminary rounds for Sweden's entry to the Eurovision Song Contest to a bad snowstorm.
jm/bw (Reuters, dpa),dw.com