Trump Jr sparks outrage with 'poisoned Skittles' refugee tweet

Trump Jr sparks outrage with 'poisoned Skittles' refugee tweet
Blog: Enraged social media users are sharing photos of Syrian refugees in response to a tweet by Donald Trump Jr comparing them to a bowl of poisoned Skittle candies.
3 min read
20 Sep, 2016

Donald Trump's eldest son triggered an online storm on Tuesday with a tweet comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl of poisoned sweets.

"This image says it all, let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first," Donald Trump Jr tweeted, showing a photo of a white bowl filled with the popular, rainbow-coloured Skittles confection.

"If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?" reads the caption.

"That's our Syrian refugee problem."

His father, the 2016 Republican presidential candidate, has sparked waves of criticism with comments on race, immigrants and refugees, including calling for a ban on Muslim travellers to the United States.

Earlier on Monday, he reiterated his call for suspending immigration from some countries.

"We should temporarily suspend immigration entering from regions where safe and adequate screening cannot occur," the Republican candidate said.

"This isn't just a matter of terrorism, this is really a question of quality of life," he added.

"We want to make sure we're only admitting people into our country who love our country, we want them to love our country, and we want them to love our people."

Skittles parent company Wrigley Americas distanced itself from the tweet with a brief response opposing Trump Jr's statement.

"Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it's an appropriate analogy," Vice-President of Corporate Affairs Denise Young said in the statement.

"We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing."

The Twitter post – showing the familiar "Trump-Pence 2016" logo with the presidential campaign slogan "Make America Great Again!" – provoked immediate outrage, with users rejecting the metaphor and sharing photos to demonstrate the plight of Syrian refugees.

Nick Merrill, the campaign spokesperson for Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton retweeted Trump Jr and called his post "disgusting".

Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for outgoing President Barack Obama, responded to Trump Jr's post with a photo of Omran Daqneesh, the Syrian child whose dazed and bloodied image shocked the world.

Another user shared the image of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed ashore on a Turkish beach as his family tried to reach Europe.

Musician John Legend, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump on Twitter, also joined the chorus of anger.

A few Twitterers, however, showed support for Trump Jr's controversial post, including Joe Walsh, a former Illinois congressman and now a conservative talk radio host.

Others supported Trump's claim that allowing refugees into the US would put Americans at risk of more terrorist attacks.

Trump Jr's tweet came as world leaders meeting at the United Nations on Monday approved a declaration aimed at providing a more coordinated and humane response to the global refugee crisis, among which Syrians are a major grouping.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have sought refuge in Europe, while many others wait in neighbouring countries and refugee camps for the war to end – or a chance to move away from the carnage.

The United States, which has a long tradition of taking in refugees, has been criticised for its slow response to the Syrian crisis.

However, last month, the US announced it achieved its target of taking in 10,000 Syrian war refugees in a year-long resettlement programme, which had been strongly opposed by Trump.

In further bad news for Trump, and as the #SkittlesWelcome hashtag started to trend internationally, news emerged that former Republican President George HW Bush planned to vote for Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton.