Protesting, elegizing, carping, waxing sarcastic, forcing jokes, stating facts, garbling what he just read in the Times, free-associating to doomsday, Lou carries on a New York conversation--all that's missing is a disquisition on real estate.If you substitute "Trump" for "Lou," that's a perfect description of Trump's speaking style. And because he's into free-associating, he gets himself in trouble. But is it really trouble? Let's consider the latest outrage that was all over the ol' social media feed this weekend, the incident in Sweden that didn't happen:
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. You look at what’s happening all over the world.Did anything specific happen in Sweden the other night? No. But that's not what Trump was saying. At the link, John Hinderaker does a good job of Trumpsplaining:
Yes. Or, in other words, “having problems like they never thought possible.” Liberals pretended not to understand Trump’s point, and made believe that Trump was talking about a phantom terrorist attack on Friday night. The Swedish government even joined in the faux mirth. The linked AP story is deeply dishonest. It joins in the absurd misinterpretation of Trump’s remarks, and never even mentions what he actually said about Sweden: “Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.” But dishonesty has become a daily occurrence at the Associated Press.And the story? This is what the Associated Press had to say:
On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to explain: "My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden." A White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, says that Trump was talking about rising crime and recent incidents in general, not referring to a specific issue.Are the assertions made on Carlson's show accurate? The AP doesn't tell us. But the New York Times reported as much last year:
The president may be referring to a segment aired Friday night on the Fox News Channel show "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that reported Sweden had accepted more than 160,000 asylum-seekers last year but that only 500 of the migrants had found jobs in Sweden. The report, which was illustrated with video of broken windows and fires, went on to say that a surge in gun violence and rape had followed the influx of immigrants.
Sweden, once one of the most welcoming countries for refugees, on Tuesday introduced tough new restrictions on asylum seekers, including rules that would limit the number of people granted permanent residency and make it more difficult for parents to reunite with their children.To be clear, the "last year" in the linked piece refers to 2015, but from what we know most of those refugees are still in Sweden. How about the 500 jobs? Here's a report from the Independent from about six months ago:
The government said the legislation, proposed by the Social Democrat minority government and enacted by a vote of 240 to 45, was necessary to prevent the country from becoming overstretched by the surge of migration to Europe that began last year.
The country, which has a population of 9.5 million, took in 160,000 asylum seekers last year.
Sweden used to be one of Europe’s most popular destinations for migrants, with the number of asylum applications doubling between 2014 and 2015 to more than 160,000.Maybe, pace Christgau, Trump was free associating to doomsday and garbled what he read in the Times. That might be an overly charitable assessment of what Trump said the other day, but it's closer to true than asserting Trump had claimed a terror attack had occurred in Sweden. Back to Hinderaker:
A high success rate – 55 per cent of claims were accepted in 2015 – combined with generous welfare benefits for asylum seekers, and a comparatively welcoming population, made the country extremely popular with people fleeing war and persecution, and left the Scandinavian nation with the second highest number of refugees per capita in Europe.
But for many asylum seekers who arrived during the influx last year, Sweden has proved less of a utopia than they hoped. Many faced a long, cold winter in political limbo, camped out in makeshift accomodation while the state struggled to cope with the large number of new claims. Less than 500 of the 160,000 arrivals have managed to secure jobs.
As happens so often, liberals think they are scoring points against Trump when in fact they are making fools of themselves. As Trump said, Sweden has imported too many refugees, and the results aren’t pretty. Most are living off the government, and some are committing crimes, especially sex crimes.Hinderaker even produces a chart that documents the significant uptake in sex crime activity, which you can see at the link.
As always, I go back to the valuable observation of Salena Zito:
When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.If you watch a Trump rally, that's the response of the people who support him. The challenge for those of us who aren't on the Trump train, but who recognize the mendacity of those who would destroy Trump, is how to suss all this out.