Donald Trump Jr.’s Skittles tweet: inaccurate, dehumanizing, plagiarized, and rooted in anti-Semitism

CREDIT: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
CREDIT: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Monday night, Donald Trump Jr. attempted to justify his father’s draconian immigration policies with this tweet:

Skittles do not kill people and neither have refugees

Donald Trump Jr.’s tweet shows a bowl or, perhaps, a hundred or so Skittles and claims that “just three” would kill you.

The reality is that there have been 784,000 refugees who have come to the United States since September 11, 2001. None have participated in a domestic terrorist attack.

784,000 Skittles would fill up 25.7 cubic feet.

So the actual analogy is filling this entire refrigerator, including the freezer, to the brim with Skittles. None of the Skittles will kill you.

Just five out of 784,000 have been arrested on terrorism-related charges. That is 0.0006%. None of those five killed any Americans or were even planning credible domestic terrorist attacks.

One reason is that refugees are screened through a rigorous vetting process that can take years.

Refugees are not Skittles

Donald Trump Jr.’s tweet has an even more basic problem than math: refugees are people, not Skittles.

Skittles, for what it’s worth, agrees.

Stealing candy from a bigot

Donald Trump Jr.’s tweet is not only inaccurate and dehumanizing, it’s also stolen.

Former Representative Joe Walsh tweeted the exact same thing analogy in August. Trump stole it, branded it with the Trump/Pence logo and tweeted it out.

Walsh’s radio show was canceled after he used racial slurs on air.

Taste the rainbow of anti-semitism

Trump’s tweet is a variation of a flawed analogy that has been circulating around far-right circles for years.

But, as Raw Story notes, the basic analogy dates back even further. A similar story is told in “Der Giftpilz, an anti-Semitic children’s book” published in 1938. An excerpt of a translation:

Look, Franz, human beings in this world are like the mushrooms in the forest. There are good mushrooms and there are good people. There are poisonous, bad mushrooms and there are bad people. And we have to be on our guard against bad people just as we have to be on guard against poisonous mushrooms. Do you understand that?…

Yes, my child! Just as a single poisonous mushrooms can kill a whole family, so a solitary Jew can destroy a whole village, a whole city, even an entire Volk.

The author, Julius Streicher, was executed as a war criminal in 1946.

Laurel Raymond contributed to this post.