Skittles has been forced to clarify that “refugees are people” after Donald Trump Jr equated eating a handful of the sweets to the “Syrian refugee problem”.
The eldest son of the Republican presidential candidate likened Syrian refugees to potentially poisoned Skittles on Tuesday, suggesting that the US should not accept anybody fleeing the war-stricken state.
The 38-year-old shared a picture on social media of a bowl of Skittles with the caption: “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.”
Underneath the image and caption was Donald Trump’s slogan: “Make America great again.”
Trump Jr tweeted: “This image says it all. Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first. #trump2016”
Skittles released a statement saying the analogy was not “appropriate” and clarified that refugees are actually people.
A spokesman from Skittles 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.”
Trump Jr’s comments led many to share photos of Syrian children who are victims of the war, with the caption: “This boy is not a Skittle.”
Others tried to give Trump Jr a history lesson, sharing a photo of hundreds of Jews on a ship travelling from Germany to the USA who were sent back in 1939. A quarter died in the Holocaust.
Others tried to fight Trump Jr’s ignorance with humour.
Others came armed with the facts.
Some were offended at the poor lack of grammar in the tweet.
And Andrew Stroehlein, from Human Rights Watch, called the poor analogy out for exactly what it was:
A report published last week by the Cato Institute, a Conservative-leaning think tank, found that “the chance of an American being murdered in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion per year.”
According to the State Department, of the approximately 785,000 refugees who have settled in the US since the September 11 attacks, fewer than 20 have been arrested on terrorist charges.
Following last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” which he later adjusted to immigrants from “terrorist nations.”
The irony of Trump Jr tweeting the graphic from an iPhone, which was invented by Steve Jobs, the son of a Syrian immigrant, has been pointed out.
Asylum seekers must make their case before a federal immigration officer, but the backlogged system can only handle a small proportion of cases each year.
In 2014, the most recent year of available data, federal immigration officials received 41,920 applications for asylum, but granted only 8,775.