"Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They're shithole countries ... We should have more people from Norway."
Residents of shitholes may not be welcome in the US, but as president Trump said yesterday, when it comes to Vikings, America's customs gates are wide open. But do Norwegians feel the same about emigrating to the US? As Reuters observes, many citizens of the Scandinavian nation appeared lass than enthusiastic on Friday by Trump's suggestion.
The Nordic country, one of the richest in the world by GDP per capita thanks to its $1+ trillion government pension fund funded by the country's oil industry, was last year named the happiest nation on the planet and is known for a cradle-to-grave welfare state. This may explain why so many locals compared the US to a "shithole."
It started with the country's statistics agency. While hundreds of thousands of Norwegians emigrated to the U.S. in the 19th century, just 502 out of a population of 5.3 million people moved there in 2016, down 59 from the previous year, according to Statistics Norway.
"Will there be more now?" the statistics agency asked in a tweet.
Here are some more reactions:
- "On behalf of Norway: Thanks, but no thanks," tweeted Torbjoern Saetre, a politician representing Norway's Conservative Party in a municipality near Oslo.
- "We are not coming. Cheers from Norway," one woman wrote.
Government officials, seeking to deflect attention, turned down a chance to comment.
- "We respectfully decline the opportunity," one government official said when contacted by Reuters.
Some suggeste that the reference to Norway may have been prompted by Prime Minister Erna Solberg who visited the White House on Wednesday when the president praised Norway for running a trade deficit with the United States and for buying U.S. military equipment.
Not everyone saw it that way, however. Christian Christensen, an American professor of journalism at Stockholm University in neighbouring Sweden, tweeted:
"Of course people from #Norway would love to move to a country where people are far more likely to be shot, live in poverty, get no healthcare because they're poor, get no paid parental leave or subsidized daycare and see fewer women in political power. #Shithole"
Of course people from #Norway would love to move to a country where people are far more likely to be shot, live in poverty, get no healthcare because they’re poor, get no paid parental leave or subsidized daycare and see fewer women in political power. #Shithole— Christian Christensen (@ChrChristensen) January 11, 2018
Before the "shithole" controversy, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt tweeted that, judging by Solberg's visit, "keys to success with Trump is personal charm, a solid trade deficit with the U.S. and buying tons of U.S. military hardware."
As Reuters adds, Solberg, whose office also declined to comment on Trump's remarks, is expected to announce soon an expansion of her cabinet to include Norway's Liberal Party, a centrist group that favours strong environmental policies and more immigration.
"The first point of order in the new government declaration: Norway will still not be a shithole country," tweeted Kjetil Alstadheim, the political editor of financial daily Dagens Naeringsliv.
Here are some additional reactions to Trump's proposal:
Funny how Norway isn't a "shithole country" despite embracing everything Trump supposedly abhors: high taxes, big government, liberal social values, something resembling socialism.— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) January 12, 2018
My parents both came from Norway, god rest their souls.— Brian Hjelle🇵🇷 (@Brian_Hjelle) January 11, 2018
If they were alive today, they would know better.
They'd have stayed in Norway, or maybe have chosen a less SHITHOLE country.
The Racist in Chief thinks we need more immigrants from Norway.— ☃️Dr. Donna Noble of Normay☃️ (@DonnaNoble10th) January 11, 2018
Some things about Norway:
🔹Paid family leave
🔹Shorter work weeks
🔹More vacation time
🔹Incredible education system
WHY WOULD THEY WANT TO COME HERE??? pic.twitter.com/F30NCOsx1p
In case anyone was wondering how to say "shithole" in Norwegian, these are the headlines in Norway's main newspapers pic.twitter.com/Pa7QcINgtL— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) January 12, 2018
And then there was this, which is likely self-explanatory