A former US ambassador to Sweden said Monday that the country was perfectly safe even though it had accepted a large number of refugees from Syria, refuting concerns raised by President Donald Trump during a rally Saturday.
“The crime rate has not skyrocketed,” Azita Raji told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day,” citing data showing a weak correlation between terrorism and the migrations.
Trump’s reference to the Scandinavian nation, known for liberally accepting Syrian refugees, originally occurred during a campaign-style rally in Florida Saturday.
“We’ve got to keep our country safe,” he said. “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. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris.”
The comments appeared to refer to recent terror attacks in Germany and elsewhere, but no such attack has occurred in Sweden.
The President clarified his remarks Sunday, posting on Twitter that his statement “was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters just prior to Trump’s tweet that he was “talking about rising crime and recent incidents in general and not referring to a specific incident.”
“I think that when we talk about these immigration patterns we need to use the facts that are available. There’s absolutely no data to support that,” Raji said of the Trump administration claims.
Sweden has a population of about 10 million people and has accepted around 200,000 recent migrants, she said.
“Based on that we should be reporting terrorist attacks in Sweden every week. You (saw) no such thing last year,” Raji said.
Trump tweeted Monday: “Give the public a break – The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!”
Give the public a break – The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2017