In February 2017, President Trump ignited a firestorm with comments about refugee violence in Sweden.
"You look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden! They took in large numbers and they're having problems like they never thought possible," Trump said during a rally in Melbourne, Florida.
Turns out Trump was wrong about "last night." The next day on Twitter, Trump said his Sweden statement "was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden."
But he wasn't wrong about the exploding violence in the idyllic Nordic nation. Not by a long shot. Still, the liberal media went mad, bashing Trump for declaring that refugees were causing violence there.
The New York Times wrote a scathing piece a couple of days later headlined, "From an Anchor’s Lips to Trump’s Ears to Sweden’s Disbelief." The article said Trump — "without white papers, intelligence reports, an interagency meeting or, presumably, the advice of his secretary of state" — went off half-cocked, alleging violence where none was occurring.
The Times then concluded that Trump was an uninformed buffoon. "The episode underscored that Mr. Trump obtains, processes and uses information differently from any modern president. He watches television at night and tends to incorporate what he sees into his Twitter feed, speeches and interviews."
Trump, as he is wont to do, pushed back — hard.
A year later, though, The Times has come full circle. On Sunday, America's "paper of record" finally got around to covering the story. "Hand Grenades and Gang Violence Rattle Sweden’s Middle Class," read the headline.
"... [G]ang-related assaults and shootings are becoming more frequent, and the number of neighborhoods categorized by the police as 'marred by crime, social unrest and insecurity' is rising. Crime and immigration are certain to be key issues in September’s general election, alongside the traditional debates over education and health care," the paper wrote.
Part of the reason is that Sweden’s gang violence, long contained within low-income suburbs, has begun to spill out. In large cities, hospitals report armed confrontations in emergency rooms, and school administrators say threats and weapons have become commonplace. Last week two men from Uppsala, both in their 20s, were arrested on charges of throwing grenades at the home of a bank employee who investigates fraud cases.
The article does not, however, ascribe any of the "gang violence" to refugees, 160,000 of whom poured into the country since 2014, mostly from Muslim nations. In fact, the piece doesn't include the word "refugee" or "Muslim" at all.
"Police officials are more likely to attribute gang violence to a failure of integration, citing a recent study of a Swedish street gang that found 24 percent of its members were ethnic Swedes, and 42 percent had been born in Sweden," says the article.
Fascinating. A "failure of integration"? Failure to integrate whom? And if 24% of street gang members are "ethnic Swedes" — that means 74% of them are not.
Washington Examiner columnist Byron York pointed out the hilarity.
There's also been an increase in rape in the country, up 10% in 2017 compared to the year before. A story this past January in British paper The Times — headlined "Teens roam streets with rifles as crime swamps Sweden" — said two-thirds of rape suspects were non-Swedish.
"In spite of the authorities' considerable efforts in the area of the Introduction Programme for refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, the labour market participation rate following completion stood only at 27 percent in 2016, and was even lower for women at just 15 percent," it said.
In 2015, there were 112 cases of lethal violence — 33 by shooting, compared to just 17 in 2011. Violence against women also soared, as did sexual assaults. Reported rapes in 2016 rose to 6,570, a 13% rise over 2015. The nation now ranks No. 2 in rapes per capita, Defend Europa reported. Ninety-two percent of all "severe rapes" in Sweden were carried out by "people with a migratory/asylum background," they said.
What's more, refugees who poured into the nation aren't working. "In spite of the authorities' considerable efforts in the area of the Introduction Programme for refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, the labour market participation rate following completion stood only at 27 percent in 2016, and was even lower for women at just 15 percent," The Local reported.
So, The New York Times, a year later, has come around to Trump's point of view. Makes you wonder what else they'll admit is true — next year.