Did Fox News segment lead Trump to believe there was a terror attack in Sweden?

Did Fox News Segment Lead Trump to Believe There Was a Terror Attack in Sweden?

Did Fox News Segment Lead Trump to Believe There Was a Terror Attack in Sweden?

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Feb. 18 2017 9:40 PM

Did Fox News Lead Trump to Believe There Was a Terror Attack in Sweden?

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President Donald Trump during a campaign rally at the AeroMod International hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport on Saturday in Melbourne, Florida.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Donald Trump seemed to once again provide evidence for just how much cable news he watches during his campaign rally in Florida on Saturday. While he was defending his travel ban, Trump brought up examples from around the world about why Americans need the added protection: “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.”

That immediately raised a few eyebrows. Sweden? What was he talking about? Was there some sort of terrorist attack in Sweden Friday night that no one heard about? On social media, it fell on the random citizen controlling the @sweden Twitter account this week to clarify that there wasn’t some grand conspiracy; there really has not been “any terrorist attacks here. At all.”

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So why did Trump say it? Well, he could have just picked a country out of thin air. Or maybe, the commander in chief was watching Fox News Friday night. In a segment on Tucker Carlson’s show, journalist Ami Horowitz claimed the Swedish government is covering up rape crimes in order to protect “vulnerable” migrants. “From the onset of the refugee crisis, there was a surge in gun violence and rape—the statistics were clear,” Horowitz said. “But locals just said ‘it was men, not refugees,’ so the majority in Sweden still want to have an open-door policy. It’s confounding, really.”

Even if that was the case though, the segment on Carlson’s show didn’t actually say anything happened Friday night. Little wonder then that it didn’t take long for some on Twitter to equate the Swedish “attack” with the Bowling Green Massacre.

Update on Feb. 20 at 7:15 a.m.: President Trump confirmed on Twitter that his reference to Sweden had to do with a segment he watched on Fox News.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.