- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The State Department issued a statement Wednesday on South Africa moving to expropriate largely white-owned farmland, offering assurances that the country was engaged in an “open process.”

And then President Trump promptly undid the statement and said he’d ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to review the program, which he harshly criticized as mass murder.

In a statement to Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the State Department said its officials were “aware of these reports and have been following this issue very closely for some time.”

“South Africa is a strong democracy with resilient institutions including a free press and an independent judiciary,” said the statement. “South Africans are grappling with the difficult issue of land reform through an open process of including public hearings, broad-based consultations, and active civil society engagement.”

The statement concluded: “President [Cyril] Ramaphosa has pledged that the land reform process will follow the rule of law and its implementation will not adversely affected economic growth, agricultural production, or food security.”

Mr. Carlson mocked the statement as “unbelievable,” saying,”The State Department did not mention that by following the rule of law, he has changed the country’s constitution to make it possible to steal land from people because they are the wrong skin color.”

SEE ALSO: South Africa plan to seize white-owned farms could destroy its economy, analysts warn

One avid Fox News viewer was not amused.

Less than two hours after Mr. Carlson’s program ended, Mr. Trump took to Twitter and, in a post that tagged the accounts of both Fox News and Mr. Carlson, denounced South Africa’s program.

“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,” Mr. Trump wrote.

Mr. Ramaphosa announced earlier this month that he would move to allow the expropriation of property without compensation, saying, “Black people want their land back.”

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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