Donald Trump threatened to start a trade war with Sweden in 2019 following the arrest of Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky, the Nordic country’s longtime justice minister said this week.
In an interview with the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter Morgan Johansson said the 45th president had warned that “trade restrictions” would be imposed on the country if Rocky – whose real name is Rakim Mayers – was not released.
Rocky was arrested in July 2019 and held for a month after he got involved in a fight ahead of a scheduled appearance at a Stockholm music festival.
Trump was quick to come to the “L$D” rapper’s defense, posting on Twitter that he would “personally guarantee” Rocky’s bail – even though the Scandinavian country does not allow bail.
“Just had a great call with @SwedishPM Stefan Löfven who assured me US citizen A$AP Rocky would be treated fairly,” Trump tweeted on July 20, 2019. “Similarly, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative.
“Our teams will talk to each other further, and we have agreed to talk to each other again in the next 48 hours!”
Following the call, Löfven’s office said, “The Prime Minister has made sure to emphasize… that the government cannot and will not attempt to influence the judicial process.
Shortly after, Trump said he was “very disappointed” in Löfven at the lack of movement in the matter.
“Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Lovfen for his inability to act. Sweden has failed our African American community in the United States,” the 45th president said. “I watched ASAP Rocky’s tapes, and he was followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly. #FreeRocky.
Eventually, Rocky was released and returned to the United States on August 2, 2019, only to be convicted of assault and given a suspended sentence 12 days later.
Johansson revealed this week that during talks with the White House, Trump revealed he had approached the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, for support.
“This story shows how important it really is to uphold our legal principles and not take our democracy for granted,” said Johansson, Sweden’s justice minister since 2014.
“If you can try to do something like that against Sweden, what are you going to try to do to the slightly weaker countries that don’t have the European Union behind them?”
A representative for Trump did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment.
The furor was unexpectedly evoked during Trump’s first impeachment in November, when a witness testified before the House Intelligence Committee that then-US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland , had told Trump that he should “let [Rocky] get convicted, play the racism card and give him a ticker [parade] when he comes home.