Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., set the Internet ablaze on Monday night by comparing Syrian refugees to possibly poisoned Skittles, and branding the Twitter meme with his father’s campaign logo.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 19, 2016
The Skittles Twitter account hasn’t tweeted in 20 hours, but Skittles parent company Mars tweeted out a statement in the wee hours of the morning, saying that people are people and Skittles are candy:
— Mars, Incorporated (@MarsGlobal) September 20, 2016
The thought experiment Trump Jr. proposed has its roots in racist, nationalist alt-right sites, and has been thoroughly debunked. As an American, your odds of being killed by a refugee are 1 in 3.64 billion, according to the Cato Institute. In previous iterations, the meme used M&Ms as an example. They were changed to Skittles as a “subtle” reference to Trayvon Martin, the black Florida teenager who was carrying a bag of the candy when George Zimmerman shot and killed him.
Many of the supporters of the idea Trump Jr. tweeted have avatars of Pepe the Frog, an alt-right symbol.
Aside from being taken from alt-right dogma, conservative talk show host (and former Congressman) Joe Walsh noticed a bit of a similarity to one of his own tweets from a month ago:
Hey @DonaldJTrumpJr, that’s the point I made last month.
Glad you agree. pic.twitter.com/Nssw6KC1HY
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) September 20, 2016
Plenty of high-profile Twitter users, like former Obama speech writer Jon Favreau, immediately jumped on the tweet, denouncing it as varying degrees of mortifying.
Oh and human beings fleeing oppression and terror aren’t skittles. https://t.co/wXK24wvurK