Americans have left the Swedes scratching their heads — again.
Fox featured a Swedish “defense and national security adviser” on Thursday discussing the refugee situation in the country, but military and foreign affairs officials in Sweden had no idea who he was.
A man identified as Nils Bildt appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor” to link crime in Sweden to immigrants. “We are unable to socially integrate these people,” he said.
Sweden’s Defense Ministry and its Foreign Office told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that they didn’t know who Bildt was.
“He is ... not in any way a known quantity in Sweden and has never been part of the Swedish debate,” Swedish Defense University professor Robert Egnell said in an email to The Associated Press on Saturday. Swedish officials, backed up by statistics, say that crime has been relatively flat for years in the country (and a fraction of U.S. crime) even though Sweden accepted record numbers of refugees in 2015.
Egnell, who went to college with Bildt, said he moved to Japan over 12 years ago. Bildt is also known as Nils Tolling, according to the AP. Dagens Nyheter reported that he had served time in prison, according to The Washington Post, which Bildt denied.
Bildt founded a security consulting business with offices in New York, Brussels and Tokyo — but not in Sweden. His resume cites his work as a naval officer.
“Sorry for any confusion caused, but needless to say I think that is not really the issue. The issue is Swedish refusal to discuss their social problems and issues,” Bildt said in a statement to Mediaite. Bildt said he is an “independent political adviser,” and that the description given to him on “The O’Reilly Factor” was chosen by Fox.
The executive producer of “The O’Reilly Factor” told The Washington Post that Bildt had been recommended to the program and that he went through a “pre-interview.”
Bildt’s appearance followed an uproar over President Donald Trump’s call at a rally last Saturday to “look at what’s happening last night in Sweden” as he mentioned European nations hit by terrorism. After stumped Swedish officials contacted the White House to find out what had happened, Trump clarified that he had been watching Fox the previous night and listened to a conservative filmmaker talk about rising crime rates and immigrants. Twitter went wild.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven scolded Trump, saying leaders should “take responsibility for verifying any information that we spread.”
Trump then attacked the “fake news” media for covering up problems with immigrants in Sweden. And he was emboldened after a riot broke out in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood following a drug arrest last Monday.
But Sweden’s Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson again countered that the president should be “better informed about what the conditions really are here” before he speaks, Reuters reported. Johansson said that Sweden has “very, very few cases” of asylum seekers committing crimes.
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