On Monday evening, Donald J. Trump Jr. tweeted an image that was ostensibly intended to convey the risks of accepting Syrians fleeing violence and persecution into the United States. Trump Jr. compared Syrian refugees to poisonous Skittles that "would kill you."
The image featured a bowl of the candy and read, "If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?' That's our Syrian refugee problem." Trump Jr.'s tweet explained that the image "says it all" and kept with his father's narrative that political correctness was one of the country's greatest problems.
The backlash was immediate. Many slammed Trump Jr. for his baffling insensitivity (and logic), including former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who herself is a refugee, and crooner John Legend.
Even Skittles' parent company, Wrigley, weighed in on the controversy. Contacted by Seth Abramovitch of The Hollywood Reporter for comment, Denise Young, the company's VP of Corporate Affairs, responded:
Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it's an appropriate analogy.
Many also pointed out the irony in Trump Jr. sharing the tweet from an iPhone, a groundbreaking product whose company was founded by the son of a Syrian immigrant, Steve Jobs.
Later, the media found that the photo of the bowl of Skittles used in Trump Jr.'s tweet was, in fact, taken by a former refugee.
"This was not done with my permission, I don't support his politics and I would never take his money to use it," David Kittos told the BBC. "In 1974, when I was six years old, I was a refugee from the Turkish occupation of Cyprus so I would never approve the use of this image against refugees."
Despite the appalling analogy, many have addressed Trump Jr.'s tweet with humor and humanity. Many tweeted under the hashtag #SkittlesWelcome, a play on the "Refugees Welcome" greeting that aims to counter anti-refugee sentiment in the west.