This week, the media blew up over President Trump’s allegations last Friday night at a rally that there had been some terrible event in Sweden “last night.” They suggested that Trump had mentioned a phantom terror attack in the same way Kellyanne Conway mentioned the “Bowling Green massacre” and Sean Spicer referred to a terror attack in Atlanta that never happened. Here’s what Trump said in his speech:
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.
This is a near-perfect example of how Trumpian rhetoric polarizes the electorate. Why? Because Trump was wrong to say that something had happened in Sweden “last night” – nothing happened that night – but he was right to point out the increased crime problem among Muslim immigrants to Sweden. Conservatives reacted to Trump’s comments by pretending that Trump had never used the phrase “last night”; leftists pretend that nothing terrible had ever happened in Sweden.
Then, last night, news broke of a Muslim immigrant rally:
SWEDEN’S capital was plunged into chaos on Monday as police were forced to fire at rioters after a violence erupted in an area described as high risk. The terrifying scenes took place just hours after the country’s Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, slammed Donald Trump for claiming Sweden was in crisis as a result of its liberal refugee policy. Stockholm police were forced to fire a shot into the rampaging crowd in the hard-hit suburb of Rinkeby, after a mob of around 30 thugs started attacking the officers with rocks. Violence erupted after the police had tried to arrest a wanted person on the subway.
Sweden does have a serious problem with rising rates of rape correlating with increased immigration from Muslim countries. As Joe Curl points out, “There were at 66.5 cases of reported rapes per 100,000 inhabitants last year, up from 24.9 in 2003. That’s one heck of a jump.” Even ABC News has been forced to acknowledge that Trump wasn’t entirely wrong:
Last year, 112,645 violent crimes were reported in Sweden — an increase from 108,739 in 2015, 108,071 in 2014, and 104,738 in 2013, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. These numbers include attempted murder, muggings and rape — but not other types of sexual assault and murder, the council said….“The police reports don’t have a box you tick about whether it’s a Swedish citizen or an immigrant,” Lund told ABC News, noting that the council does a lot of research on why people commit crimes. The council looks at a number of social factors, including income and education — but not immigration status or ethnicity.
Trump rightly tweeted:
Last month, the police chief for the southern Swedish city of Malmo issued a desperate plea for help curtailing a plague of attempted murders, beatings and rapes. About 32 percent of Malmo’s occupants are migrants, although it is not clear what role migrants play in the crime wave. “We cannot do it on our own,” Chief Stefan Sinteus wrote in an open letter about the “upward spiral of violence.”…. Malmo had 52 hand grenade attacks in 2016 alone, a jump from 48 attacks in 2015, according to figures provided by the Swedish Police Authority.
Want to know why conservatives don’t trust the media? It’s because of media overreach suggesting that when conservatives get a specific wrong but the general right, the general is also wrong. That’s not an excuse for Trump making silly mistakes – he’s the president – but it does demonstrate why conservatives are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, so long as he’s talking about real problems the left refuses to contemplate.