How a Far-Right Conspiracy About South Africa Reached Donald Trump

Tracing claims of a white farmer "genocide" from South African extremists to the White House.

south africa
Attendee Neels Uys (29), a farmer, speaks during the public land hearings on whether section 25 of the Constitution regarding expropriation of land without compensation, should be amended at the Sedibeng Town Hall in Vereeniging, Gauteng province on July 27, 2018. (GULSHAN KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

This week, Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson once again talked about the alleged plight of white South African farmers on his program. President Trump was evidently watching the show since he called for further study of it on Twitter soon after the segment aired. But in his tweet, Trump wrote about a “large scale killing of farmers” as if it is a settled fact, when reporting indicates that against the background of a generally high murder rate in South Africa, there is no evidence of white farmers being specifically or systematically targeted and killed, reports The Guardian. 

Trump’s tweet is significant because it shows how a dubious, far-right claim of “white genocide” in South Africa has been mainstreamed, working its way from far-right Afrikaner websites to U.S. cable news to, now, a policy inquiry from the White House. The Guardian explains how the myth of “white genocide” has been a staple of the racist far right for decades, and though it takes many forms, the main idea revolves around a complex plot to replace, remove, or liquidate white populations.

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