After apparently tuning in to Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump waded into the affairs of the South African government, pushing a talking point favored by white nationalists regarding the country’s land reforms—and angering South Africans as well as others who understand South Africa’s history of racial oppression.
Trump’s tweet was “misinformed,” according to a South African government spokesperson, and a number of critics condemned the president’s reaction, clearly devoid of any context other than Carlson’s one-sided segment.
Carlson presented a segment criticizing the Trump administration for not addressing South Africa’s plans to amend its constitution in order to allow the expropriation of land owned by white farmers.
“The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has begun, and you may have seen this in the press, seizing land from his own citizens without compensation because they are the wrong skin color,” Carlson told his viewers.
Although only nine percent of South Africans are white, they control 72 percent of the country’s fertile land, nearly a quarter of a century after the official end of apartheid and white minority rule.
Since 1994, the government has offered compensation to willing sellers of farmland in order to promote fair distribution, but the slow pace of land reforms led to a proposal of direct action last year. In July, the government announced it would push ahead with land expropriation.
Fierce opposition to the plan—and the notion that white farmers have been subjected to “large scale killing” as mentioned by Trump—is a frequent subject of discussion in the corners of the internet inhabited by white supremacists and white nationalists, Reveal journalist Aaron Sankin noted.