U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to invent a terror attack in Sweden during a rally in Florida on Saturday, the second time in this month the president or a member of his staff made a reference to attacks carried out by migrants that didn't actually happen.
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Addressing a cheering crowd packed into an airport hangar in Melbourne, Florida, the president defended his ban on visitors and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, and the need to restrict immigration for the security of the U.S.
"When you look at what’s happening in Germany, when 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. You look at what's happening in Brussels, you look at what's happening all over the world," Trump said, according to Business Insider.
There were no attacks in Sweden on Friday. Aftonbladet newspaper listed in English some events that had happened Friday in Sweden, including a man being treated for severe burns, an avalanche warning and police chasing a drunken driver.
Immediately after the president's remark, Twitter users inundated an official Swedish government account with queries. The account, @Sweden, is operated by a different Swedish citizen every week. On Saturday, the account was operated by school librarian Emma Johansson who responded: "No. Nothing has happened here in Sweden. There has not been any terrorist attacks here. At all. The main news right now is about Melfest."
Melfest is a televised singing contest, the winner of which goes on to represent Sweden in Eurovision.
As was pointed out by several news outlets, Fox News' Tucker Carlson hosted on his show on Friday documentarian Ami Horowitz, who presented a clip from his latest film showing alleged violence committed by refugees in Sweden. According to Business Insider, the segment claimed that Sweden was suffering was a surge in crime and linked it to the country's immigrant population.
Sweden has taken in more refugees per capita than any other European country in recent years, the Telegraph reported, and several crime incidents involving refugees have led to a public discourse about immigration policy in the Scandinavian country.
However, crime rates in Sweden have remained relatively stable over the last decade, according to a 2016 Swedish Crime Survey cited by Business Insider.
In early February, senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway also referred to a non-existent terror attack which purportedly convinced former President Barack Obama to implement a refugee ban of his own.
The so-called "Bowling Green massacre," as Conway put it, never happened. Conway tweeted the next day that she'd misspoken, and meant to say "Bowling Green terrorists," apparently referring to two Iraqi migrants in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who were convicted of supporting attacks on U.S. troops while they were still in Iraq, as well as plotting to send weapons and money to al-Qaida operatives abroad.
Obama never banned Iraqi refugees or other Iraqi travelers from coming to the United States. Prompted by the Bowling Green arrests, his administration did slow down the processing for Iraqis seeking Special Immigrant Visas, which are given to translators and interpreters who worked with the U.S. in that country.