Trump Gets in Spat With His Lockdown-Hating Base Over Sweden: ‘Have You Looked at the Numbers?’


President Donald Trump rebuked his base of political support on Thursday, defending how the United States has responded to the coronavirus pandemic with strict lockdowns and social distancing guidelines for the country.

As many of his prominent supporters question whether the lockdowns across the United States have been a worthwhile measure to fight against the coronavirus, they have pointed to Sweden — where, unlike the rest of the world, much of society remains open — as evidence that strict measures are unnecessary.

Trump responded to those arguments in one of his many tweets Thursday morning:

“Despite reports to the contrary, Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown. As of today, 2462 people have died there, a much higher number than the neighboring countries of Norway (207), Finland (206) or Denmark (443). The United States made the correct decision!”

It’s hard to say where Trump got these stats from, but it’s worth mentioning that for all of his attacks on CNN, Media Matters’ Matt Gertz pointed out the network ran a segment on Scandinavia about an hour before Trump’s tweet.

Trump was also snippy about the World Health Organization’s praise for Sweden. Enough so that he seemed to dunk on one of his major Twitter fans, Bill Mitchell, as he quote-tweeted the news.

Whatever negativity this might have caused between Trump and Mitchell, it was quickly smoothed over when the president kept on retweeting Mitchell’s posts without criticism.

Nevertheless, some of his most loyal base were unhappy, including BlazeTV host Steve Deace and Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz.

Sweden has been a source of intrigue throughout the global health crisis, because their government has not joined fellow European nations by enforcing shutdowns to slow down the coronavirus spread. While the government has banned large public events and has urged people to observe social distancing, schools and numerous businesses like bars and restaurants have been allowed to stay open.

Sweden has a population of 10.3 million, and as of this writing, the country has seen approximately 20,000 coronavirus cases and over 2,400 deaths. By comparison, Norway has instituted a more strict national lockdown policy, and their population is only half the size of Sweden’s at 5.4 million. Furthermore, they’ve only seen around 7,600 coronavirus cases with just over 200 deaths.

Politico has gone into depth on how this hands-off model is appealing to members of Trump’s base who want the country to reopen. The outlet points out notable differences, however, between the U.S. and Sweden, a country that has universal health care, a low population density, a high level of public trust in the government, and a considerable welfare system.

Watch above, via CNN.

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