In a new interview with CBS News anchor Scott Pelley, Donald Trump explains that his failure to correct a New Hampshire town hall attendee's paranoia about Islam was due not to bigotry, but to realism.
"I love the Muslims," says Trump. "Now we could say there are no problems with the Muslims. There's no problems. There's no terrorism. There's no problems. There's no anything. They didn't knock down the World Trade Center. To the best of my knowledge the people that knocked down the World Trade Center -- you know where they're -- they didn't fly back to Sweden, okay."
Trump's quick invocation of Sweden, a mostly Lutheran nation not known for violence of any kind, might have come as a surprise, if he hadn't done it so recently. The Republican front-runner's concise argument for religious profiling has come up again and again in the wake of the Islam gaffe.
"I think that a lot of people see it and they see what's happening and they turn on their television every night and they see all of the tremendous damage and destruction that's being caused and, you know, they hear about ISIS and they figure ISIS is not exactly located in the middle of Sweden," Trump told Fox News's Greta Van Susteren on Monday's episode of "On the Record." "I said the other day to somebody, 'you know, I don't notice too many Swedish people going back after the bombing of the World Trade Center.'"
Previously, it was CNN's turn to hear about the Swedes. "You have radicals that are doing things," Trump told Jake Tapper on this past Sunday's episode of "State of the Union." "I mean, it wasn't people from Sweden who blew up the World Trade Center, Jake."
And four years ago, during Trump's brief and aborted flirtation with a presidential campaign, he trotted out the Swedish line when Fox News's Bill O'Reilly asked if there was a "Muslim problem in the world."
"Absolutely," said Trump. "Absolutely. I didn't notice Swedish people knocking down the World Trade Center."
The 19 hijackers directly involved with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks hailed from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. Trump is correct in saying that none were Swedish.