Politics

People Point Out That Refugees Are Not Skittles After Donald Trump Jr. Posts Meme

Donald Trump Jr. on Monday posted a meme that compared refugees to a bowl of candy laced with poison. Warning: Some of these images are graphic.

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Donald Trump Jr. on Monday posted a meme promoting his father's campaign for president that compared Syrian refugees to a bowl of deadly Skittles.

Donald Trump Jr / Via Twitter: @DonaldJTrumpJr

"If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful?" the meme reads. "That's our Syrian refugee problem."

The message was a play on a rhetorical device that sometimes uses poisonous M&M's. It's also been applied to groups of people, most recently Syrian refugees. If a few people in the group are bad, it'd be foolish to trust anyone in that group, some argue.

In particular, the meme posted by Trump took language from a tweet by conservative radio host Joe Walsh last month.

The metaphor might work for poisonous candy, but people on Twitter pointed out that refugees are not Skittles.

These aren't Skittles, @DonaldJTrumpJr.

Hey, DoucheBag Jr, what flavor Skittles are these Syrian refugees? #Imwithher https://t.co/LxDVd7tflQ

People are not snakes or other animals. People are not Skittles or other foods. People are people.

Even if we did bring in a few bad Skittles - and there's no evidence we do - you take that risk to save these Skitt… https://t.co/jxxMzgQXIg

If I had a bowl of skittles and was told three of them could go to school, get educated and cure a disease, I'd absolutely take a handful.

@DonaldJTrumpJr This is not a skittle.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a BuzzFeed News request for comment. In a statement to NBC, the campaign reiterated Trump's position that increasing the number of Syrian refugees allowed into the US is a "dangerous proposal."

Trump campaign on Trump Jr.’s use of refugees and Skittles comparison: "Speaking the truth might upset" some.

"Don Jr. has been a tremendous asset to the campaign," the campaign said. "America has become less safe under Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and Clinton's planned 550% increase in Syrian refugees is a dangerous proposal that will put American lives at risk. Speaking the truth might upset those who would rather be politically correct than safe, but the American people want a change, and only Donald Trump will do what's needed to protect us."

On Monday, Donald Trump also reiterated his call for suspending immigration from some countries.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

"We should temporarily suspend immigration entering from regions where safe and adequate screening cannot occur,” Trump said. “We want people to come into our country, but they have to come legally, through a process, and we need extreme screening.”

“This isn’t just a matter of terrorism, this is really a question of quality of life,” Trump continued. “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.”

Candy company Mars Inc. responded by calling the tweeted statement "an inappropriate analogy."

The International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid organization, called on Americans to remember their proud history of providing refuge tot hose in need.

“Hate and intolerance breed much of the violence that we have seen in America, and the terror from which refugees are fleeing. We must bring civil discourse back to the public conversation, recognizing that we are morally obligated to protect the world’s most vulnerable," Hans Van De Weerd, vice president of US programs, said in a statement. "This responsibility demands that we tone down the rhetoric that inflames tensions within communities."

Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at claudia.koerner@buzzfeed.com.

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