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Trump's 1st Tweet to Reference Africa Gets Poor Reception

President wants Mike Pompeo to study 'killing of farmers'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2018 7:33 AM CDT
President Donald Trump speaks before presenting Valerie Nessel the Medal of Honor for her husband Air Force Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman, posthumously for conspicuous gallantry, during a ceremony in the...   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – After a morning spent tweeting about Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, President Trump on Wednesday night turned to a situation less close to home: "I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo 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.' @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews," he tweeted. The Guardian reports the tweet was seemingly triggered by Carlson's Wednesday night segment. South Africa tweeted back: "South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past." Reuters describes the tweet as "hav[ing] inflamed an already high-octane debate over land in South Africa, a country that remains deeply racially divided and unequal."

Per the Guardian, South Africa is 8% white, but white farmers hold 72% of the land. "The majority of South Africans want to see land reform. The majority of our farmers, white and black, want to be a part of this initiative," a rep for President Cyril Ramaphosa told CNN, which notes farm seizures are not currently "ongoing." Ramaphosa on Aug. 1 said South Africa will move forward with amending the constitution to allow land that had been taken during apartheid to be expropriated without compensation. As for farmer deaths, they're actually at a 20-year low, with 47 killed over 2017-2018; the toll stood at 153 in 1998. Attacks on farms are up, however. The Washington Post reports it's the first time Trump has used the word "Africa" in a tweet as president, and adds that the post of US ambassador to South Africa is currently vacant. (Read more President Trump stories.)

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