Two months after President Donald Trump reported an attack had occurred in Sweden when one had not, a vehicle attack on pedestrians killed five people in Stockholm. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven declared it a terror attack, in a nationally televised news conference.
U.S. cable news networks, in a rare instance of restraint, did not go wall-to-wall with the latest grisly terror attack, instead focusing on the historic Senate simple-majority vote confirming 49-year-old Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. This, after Republicans went “nuclear option,” changing the rules to do away with the filibuster to confirm Trump’s court pick, giving the nation’s highest court nine justices for the first time since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia more than a year ago.
In the Stockholm attack, an unidentified man hijacked a beer truck and drove it into an upscale department store in central Stockholm killing five. Broadcaster SVT said at least five people were killed in the attack; Associated Press reported police could not immediately confirm those reports. The country’s intelligence agency said a large number of people were wounded in the crash, AP added. There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.
“Sweden has been attacked,” Lofven said in the hastily called news conference. “Everything points to a terrorist attack.” Sweden had not seen a terrorist attack since 2010, according to Yahoo News, despite Trump’s claim to contrary.
In this country, social media took to calling Trump psychic, and joking of time machines. The chatter references a seemingly off-the-cuff remark made by Trump at a Florida rally last February, carried live on the news channels, while discussing the impact of refugees on violence overseas. “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.”
That comment prompted a Bowling Green Massacre of Twitter mocking. Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt led the charge, asking “What has he been smoking?”
Another local, from the country entirely unaware it had been attacked, tweeted, “Last night, we listened to Abba.”
In response to which Trump tweeted, by way of explanation, that he saw it on Fox News: “My statement as to what’s happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden,” he tweeted. White House deputy press secretary Sarah H. Sanders helped Trump out, translating his tweet to explain that the president “was talking about rising crime and recent incidents in general and not referring to a specific incident.”
Friday’s attack in Stockholm mirrors other attacks in which large vehicles have been used as weapons. Trucks were used to plow into crowds in Nice, Berlin, and, most recently, London.