The police officers who were featured in the “documentary” that apparently inspired President Donald Trump to make his widely mocked comments Friday about an incident in Sweden say the filmmaker is a “madman” who misrepresented their views. “When you look at what’s happening in Germany, when 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,” Trump had said at a Friday rally. On Sunday night, Trump acknowledged what had already been pretty clear: He was inspired by a Fox News segment.
Sure, Trump may have access to the most extensive intelligence network in the world, but he apparently prefers to believe what he sees on Tucker Carlson’s show. And he seems to have been particularly moved by a segment in which Carlson interviewed Ami Horowitz about a documentary he made on how Sweden is descending into violent chaos because it opened its doors to refugees.
Part of the support Horowitz presents for his view on Sweden’s horrors are interviews with two police officers. The problem is those officers say they never meant to espouse the message that Horowitz attributes to them. “It was supposed to be about crime in high risk areas. Areas with high crime rates. There wasn’t any focus on migration or immigration,” Anders Göranzon told Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter. According to Göranzon, Horowitz “edited” their answers, which were to “completely different questions in the interview.” His conclusion? “This is bad journalism.”
Now the cops are wary of answering any questions, lest they be misrepresented. “It feels like hell. The real questions should be shown along with our answers,” Göranzon added. “The end result is that we don’t want to talk to journalists after this. We can’t trust each other.”
Horowitz stood by his film, denying he had misrepresented the interviews or its intent. “The answers were accurate,” Horowitz told the Guardian. “This is part of the problem that Sweden has, and the officers are probably under a lot of pressure because of what they said. It’s difficult in that environment to stand up to it, so I feel sorry for them.”
Trump made sure to keep the issue in the spotlight on Monday when he took to Twitter again and implied the details don’t matter and the real message is the problems Sweden is facing because of its immigration policies. “The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully,” Trump wrote. “NOT!”
Carlson himself said those making fun of Trump were missing the big picture by focusing on the commander in chief’s words rather than on what his overall message was. “It seems like we may be missing the point of the story, which is there has been a massive social cost associated with the refugee policies and the immigration policies of Western Europe,” Carlson said on Fox News on Monday morning. “Fifty years of immigration policy is coming to flower in Europe. We’re not paying any attention. We’re not drawing any of the obvious lessons from it. It’s not working. That’s the real point here.”
A day earlier, Sweden’s embassy in Washington wrote on Twitter that it was looking “forward to informing the US administration about Swedish immigration and integration policies.” It’s a role the embassy is familiar with considering Sweden’s diplomatic outposts have been tasked with countering the vast amounts of misinformation that has been spread about the country’s refugee program.