NPR

Here's The Story Behind That Trump Tweet On South Africa — And Why It Sparked Outrage

Outrage quickly followed the president's tweet about "the large scale killing of farmers" in South Africa. But why? The thorny history involves apartheid, white supremacists and plenty of acrimony.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks to the ruling African National Congress party earlier this year in Johannesburg, focusing mostly on land reform policies. Source: Gulshan Khan

For much of Wednesday, the topics the president mentioned on Twitter were familiar ones. There were the tweets about former associates Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to eight counts in federal court, and Paul Manafort, who was convicted of eight. There were the harsh words for Democrats and the claim he is the subject of a "witch hunt."

But then President Trump commented on something unexpected.

He tweeted that he had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. 'South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.' "

The comment appeared to be inspired by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, whom Trump tagged in the tweet. On his show for not weighing in on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's proposed land reforms.

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