Media: Trump cites (fake) attack in Sweden
President listed country among recently attacked places
By Tatiana Prophet
It was a perfect "gotcha" moment. A mere two weeks after Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway cited a false terrorist attack in Bowling Green, Ky., and White House spokesman Sean Spicer erroneously slipped Atlanta into a list of places that had experienced a terror attack from foreign-born perpetrators, Donald Trump appeared to be going for a hat trick.
Here is what he said, with enough cushion for context:
"You look at what's happening in Germany. You look at what's happening, last night, in Sweden. Sweden! Who would believe this? 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. We've allowed thousands and thousands of people into our country, and there was no way to vet those people, there was no documentation, there was no nothing. So we're going to keep our country safe. And we all have heart, by the way. And what I want to do is build safe zones in Syria and other places so they can stay there and live safely until..."
At that point, Trump went off on a tangent about how he had inherited a mess, clearly in the foreign policy department.
Here's my take: Donald Trump is the first president in a long time, possibly in my lifetime, to give long extemporaneous remarks. I searched for information on whether there were Teleprompters at the Florida rally, but I am really not sure. His remarks, and his entire speech, was pretty darn organized for not having a Teleprompter. And if you compare his style at the rally with his recent press conference, where he frequently looked down at his notes, he probably was using prompters.
That said, anyone who has watched the president at length knows that he riffs from various sources that he's picked up in the short-term past. They also know that while it appears that he has his pants on fire for a large portion of the time, often he can be seen by his supporters as joking on certain occasions, or just remarking off-the-cuff, perhaps expecting that he will be forgiven for being short on details and long on the general point.
The fact that the media (and Twitter, as well as understandably the entire nation of Sweden) erupted over his mention of the neutral country in a litany of terror-attacked nations, is understandable. But it is still an assumption. I do wonder whether any other president, with an alternate set of statements made on the political stage, would have been treated differently. And I would say, most certainly yes.
I'd add that Trump has partially done this to himself because of his freewheeling style of speaking.
But that doesn't change the fact that before running with a screaming headline claiming that the President created "another" terror attack, they should first get ahold of the White House for clarification. I would assume some of them have the inside number.
It turns out, Trump had just watched a report on FOX News Channel's Tucker Carlson show, about Sweden, and some difficulties the country had encountered after taking in a large number of refugees in 2015. (See below).
For their misleading headlines, USA Today and the Huffington Post get two Yellow Cards.
USA Today - Trump cites (fake) attack in Sweden
STOCKHOLM/WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. A day after falsely suggesting there was an immigration-related security incident in Sweden, President Donald Trump said on Sunday his comment was based on a television report he had seen.
Trump, who in his first weeks in office has tried to tighten U.S. borders sharply for national security reasons, told a rally on Saturday that Sweden was having serious problems with immigrants.
"You look at what's happening last night in Sweden," Trump said. "Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible."
Huffington Post - Donald Trump Appears To Make Up Sweden Terror Attack: It didn't happen
President Donald Trump falsely suggested at a Florida rally Saturday that Sweden had suffered a terror attack the previous night.
After announcing that the White House planned to renew its efforts to restrict immigration, Trump cited several European countries and cities that he said showed the dangers of admitting immigrants, particularly refugees.
“You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” Trump told a large crowd of supporters in a hangar at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport. “Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden,” he added. “They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
Trump’s subsequent remarks made clear he was referring to European locales that had endured terrorist attacks in the past two years.
“You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world,” he said. “Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris.”
Observers on Twitter pointed out that no such attack took place on Friday night.