Donald Trump Jr. may regret using Skittles as a metaphor for his dad’s immigration policies — but he’s not backing down.
One day after the son of the Republican nominee tried to use the sugary candy as a way to slam the idea of letting in Syrian immigrants, the candy-maker issued a terse and biting reply that has quickly gone viral. The flap started on Monday when Donald Trump Jr. tweeted an image of a bowl of Skittles and a caption comparing them to Syrian immigrants.
“If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful?” the image read. “That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”
The tweet caused an almost immediate controversy, with many slamming Donald Trump Jr. for comparing people in need to candy. Now, Skittles is joining the fray as well.
Denise Young, the vice president of corporate affairs for the Skittles’ parent company, Wrigley Americas, took Donald Trump Jr. to task for his metaphor.
“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people,” Young told the Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
While Donald Trump Jr. didn’t have a comment yet on the reply from Skittles, he continued on an anti-immigration spell by posting an article from Breitbart about what was called “Europe’s Rape Epidemic.”
The article, which had been published in October, 2015, and widely circulated at the time, saying that the influx of immigrants from war-torn areas of the Middle East have also unleashed a flood of rapes against “Western” women.
“In England, it’s been rape after rape — tens of thousands of young British girls are brutalised, tortured, beaten and raped by organised gangs comprised almost exclusively of Muslims. And now we have Germany. When Chancellor Merkel threw open the doors of her country to hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, she opened the door to the rape of German women.”
The article had been blasted by critics as fear-mongering but hailed by others as a warning of the danger of taking in so many new immigrants without proper background checks. This was especially true in many European countries, which have seen an uptick in crimes as the immigrants make their new home there. But the United States has not seen the same level of problems, with a more stringent immigration system that proponents say vets immigrants and keeps out criminals.
While it appears that Donald Trump Jr. is standing by his Skittles tweet, the backlash is growing against him. On Tuesday, the hashtag #SkittlesWelcome was one of the top Twitter trends as people protested his comparison of refugees to candy.
There Skittles flap comes at a very difficult time for Donald Trump and his campaign. After surging in the polls last week following Hillary Clinton’s statement that half of Trump’s supporters are in a racist and bigoted “basket of deplorables” and her collapse at the 9/11 memorial, Trump has once again begun to slide. Clinton has regained a lead in a series of polls put out this week, and still holds an advantage in the electoral map with leads in a number of key swing states.
The trouble could continue for the Republican candidate. Trump was forced to address his past support of the Birther movement, saying on Friday that he believed President Barack Obama was indeed born in the United States. But in doing so, Trump also blamed Hillary Clinton for starting to rumor that he had been born in Kenya, a claim that had no backing.
With now less than one week until the first debate, Trump will need to avoid distractions like the one Donald Trump Jr. started with the Skittles flap if he wants to keep his standing.
[Featured Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]