Donald Trump Jr. attempted to capture the complexity of the Syrian refugee problem late Monday by likening the millions of refugees fleeing violence and certain death to a bowl of poisoned Skittles candies. In a meme sent out on Twitter, Trump Jr. asked: “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. [sic] Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.” A photo of Skittles accompanied the question. Trump Jr. posted the meme with a call to “end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first.” It’s unclear if the meme was created as an official campaign ad, but it did feature the “Trump-Pence 2016” logo. The meme quickly sparked a firestorm of angry responses, as well as accusations of plagiarism. Nick Merrill, a press secretary for Hillary Clinton, called the meme “disgusting.”
A Washington Post reporter fired back with a photo of Omran Daqneesh, the 5-year-old boy who was famously photographed looking shell-shocked and traumatized after surviving an airstrike in Aleppo. “This is not a Skittle,” he said. A right-wing radio show host known for racist slurs, Joe Walsh, pointed out that the meme was remarkably similar to an almost identical Skittles-refugee comparison he’d made last month. Wrigley, which owns the Skittles brand, responded to the controversial post late Monday. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, the company said, “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.” Read more at CNBC.