Trump clarifies 'rising crime in Sweden'

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump was speaking about "rising crime" when he seemed to describe a non-existent terror attack in Sweden on Saturday night, said the White House, as Mr Trump defended his ideas about banning refugees and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Sunday that Mr Trump "was talking about rising crime and recent incidents in general and not referring to a specific incident".

Mr Trump, who in his first weeks in office has tried to tighten United States borders for national security reasons, earlier told thousands of supporters at a rally on Sunday that Sweden was having serious problems with immigrants.

COMMENTS BASED ON TV NEWS

My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on Fox News concerning immigrants and Sweden. 

MR TRUMP, in a tweet on Sunday, after he alleged at a rally that Sweden was having problems with its immigrants.

"You look at what's happening last night in Sweden," he said.

"Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible," added Mr Trump.

But no incident occurred in Sweden and the country's baffled government has asked the US State Department to explain what Mr Trump meant.

In a tweet on Sunday, Mr Trump wrote: "My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on Fox News concerning immigrants and Sweden."

Fox News, a US cable news channel that has sometimes been cited favourably by Mr Trump, ran a report on Friday night about alleged migrant-related crime problems in the country.

REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2017, with the headline 'Trump clarifies 'rising crime in Sweden''. Print Edition | Subscribe