US President Donald Trump made a reference to Sweden during a speech in Florida over the weekend. The speech covered a range of different issues, including national security. Trump spoke about terror attacks in different European countries, and it was in this context that he mentioned Sweden. “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”. Trump later stated that he was talking about a segment on Fox News, where a chaotic Sweden is described, riddled with problems related to immigration. SVT reports that the Swedish embassy in the US requested that the US State Department explain what Trump was talking about. So far, the only Swedish government official to comment on Trump’s statement is Ylva Johansson (S), the Minister for Employment, who appeared on SVT’s Agenda to debate integration reform. “We want to know what he means. The US President speaks and the whole world listens. He is talking about Sweden in a way where we do not understand what he means, or what he is referring to. It is reasonable that we get an answer to that question,” said Johansson.
In response to the US President’s claim of something happening “last night in Sweden”, on Sunday, the hashtag #lastnightinsweden began trending, prompting satirical responses to the US President. Aftonbladet reports that some users shared a picture of the Muppet character, ‘the Swedish chef’, outing him out as the supposed culprit. Aftonbladet also publicised a satirical article in English, giving a blow-by-blow description of what happened in Sweden on Saturday night. The article titled ‘This happened last night in Sweden, Mr President’, lists a series of minor crime and weather-related events, before reporting a 6-month old story about a lovestruck bull moose in 79-year-old Ove Lindqvist’s garden in Byske outside Skellefteå, northern Sweden.
Sweden’s politicians were also quick to comment. Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, appeared to be responding to Trump in tweeting excerpts from a speech saying that democracy and diplomacy ‘require us to respect science, facts and the media’, writes Reuters. The former Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, was blunt, asking ‘what has he been smoking’?