Here is what Trump said on Saturday at his Melbourne, Florida rally:
Here’s the bottom line. We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening. We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, 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.
Trump seemed to suggest that something had happened in Sweden the night before the Melbourne rally. It sounds like Trump was suggesting that a terrorist attack occurred in Sweden on Friday night.
Most of the world was baffled by Trump’s remarks, including former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt:
Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound. https://t.co/XWgw8Fz7tj
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 19, 2017
The so-called “Sweden Incident” now rivals the “Bowling Green Massacre” as another piece of fake news. It received so much attention that Trump was forced to respond:
My statement as to what’s happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2017
Here is the story that Trump references in this tweet:
I have no idea how much of this Fox News story is accurate. Frankly, it seems a bit sensational. The fires blazing and the black-hooded refugees instill fear in ordinary Americans. Both Tucker Carlson and the filmmaker are anything but objective in the course of the interview. It seems obvious that Fox is running this story for political purposes. They want to show what can happen in the United States if more refugees were welcomed into the country. Carlson and the filmmaker seem absolutely baffled by the idea that the people of Sweden care about humanitarianism.
So here is what happened. On Friday night Trump saw this story. On Saturday night he got confused. He confused the running of the story on Friday night with some kind of terrorist attack that he believed happened in Sweden on Friday night.
This would be an honest mistake for most people, but Donald Trump is not “most people.” Donald Trump is the President of the United States.
I am concerned about two things here:
First, the POTUS is getting his knowledge of what is happening around the world from watching television news. Trump is the most important and powerful person in the world. One would think that he would have a better source of information than Fox News. Doesn’t he read his briefings? Wouldn’t he have known if a terrorist attack occurred in Sweden before he saw it on Fox News? (Again, just to be clear, there was no terrorist attack
Second, the POTUS is once again using false information to scare people. Fox News is doing the same thing. Knowledge is an antidote to fear. Trump’s presidency thrives on people who do not think critically about their world. This is how strongmen stay in power. The light of knowledge that exposes the lies, fake news, and false information also exposes the strongman. The veil is pulled back on the Wizard of Oz and all that is left is a little insecure man.