The night nothing happened in Sweden

"Look at what's happening last night in Sweden!" US President Trump caused an outrage with this remark at a rally in Florida on Saturday. Many Swedes have posted humorous comments on Twitter about Trump's allusion to an incident with immigrants that never actually took place. Trump later tweeted that he had been referring to a report on Fox News. Some commentators believe Sweden really does deserve to be criticised - regardless of where it comes from.

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Expressen (SE) /

Sweden should remain self-critical

After Trump's comments many Swedes feel obliged to defend their country, Expressen notes, calling for more self-criticism:

“Suddenly it seems that above all on the left there is a certain unspoken expectation that all Swedes will be good promoters of the Sweden brand. This new left-wing ideological dress code would have been unthinkable just a few years ago: be optimistic, praise the media and be a loyal Sweden fan. This dutiful waving of the Swedish flag must come to an end. Because in the long term a debate climate in which people angrily defend the nation's image is unhealthy.”

Berlingske (DK) /

Trump can't exaggerate enough

Sweden really does have big problems with immigrants, Berlingske writes in Trump's defence:

“Sweden has implemented the most disastrous immigration policy of modern times, and in the Swedish Folkhemmet [the people's home: a dated, often condescending term for the welfare state] responsibility is being passed from one hand to the next. And then they call it solidarity. Fake news and cover-ups are commonplace in the Swedish press, and the US president has every right to cite them. Because it's hard to exaggerate, no matter what you say. Sweden is a grotesque country that will provide plenty of material for tweets, speeches and tirades right up until the next election period.”

The Independent (GB) /

Stockholm's reaction far too tame

Many Swedes have responded to Trump's lies with humourous comments on Twitter but the government's reaction has been far too lax, The Independent criticises:

“This laconic, non-confrontational response is quintessentially Swedish - almost infuriatingly so. An American president has lied outrageously about one of its European allies, an ally which is almost diametrically opposed, politically, to Trump’s fear-spiked right-wing populism. An ally which sits in the northern buffer zone between continental Europe and Russia. Trump’s outburst should have triggered an international crisis for his renegade one-month-old administration. Trump should by now be having to fend off global condemnation for his lies. But that would have required Sweden’s prime minister, Lofven, to respond in a direct and forceful fashion - and that is just not the Swedish way. ... They’re blowing a rich opportunity to strike a blow right to the heart of Trump’s infant presidency.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

Classic far-right disinformation

With his statements Trump is making use of the tools of the far right, Aftonbladet comments:

“Trump's speech is proof of the power of right-wing disinformation channels. The image of Sweden conveyed by the Fox News report is an exact copy of the one that Avpixlat [a website close to the xenophobic Sweden Democrats] has long been spreading. ... It's no coincidence that far-right networks work globally. Their common goal is to spread racist lies. And to cast journalists as enemies of the people, as Trump did. That idea, too, is part of the mindset of the Swedish far right. If these ideas continue to spread they will weaken the protective mechanisms of democracy.”