WASHINGTON — Donald Trump Jr., the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s son, tweeted a graphic on Tuesday that likened Syrian refugees to Skittles, which was swiftly met with criticism.
“This image says it all. Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first. #trump2016,” he tweeted, with a graphic that said: “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.”
The graphic had an official Trump logo that the Republican nominee shares with his running mate, Mike Pence.
And it appears the graphic’s language wasn’t a Trump Jr. original, but instead that of former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, a former tea party congressman from Illinois and now a conservative talk radio host.
Walsh tweeted at Trump Jr.: “Hey @DonaldTrumpJr, that’s the point I made last month. Glad you agree.”
Walsh’s tweet included a screenshot of a tweet he made dated August 13.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign spokesman Nick Merrill retweeted Trump Jr. adding: “This is disgusting.”
The 2016 campaign has featured heated rhetoric around US policy for accepting refugees. Clinton has called for an increase in the number of Syrian refugees the US should accept and Trump has called for “extreme vetting” of immigrants, as well as a ban on immigrants from countries that are hotbeds of terrorism, such as Syria.
One of President Barack Obama’s former speechwriters responded to Trump Jr. with a link to CNN reporting about a little boy in Aleppo, Syria who became the face of the humanitarian crises in Syria.
“Hey @DonaldJTrumpJr, this is one of the millions of children you compared to a poisoned Skittle today,” Jon Favreau tweeted.
Former Obama campaign staffer, Jason Sparks, tweeted at Trump Jr. photos of the Syrian refugee children in the crises and said: “These aren’t Skittles, @DonaldJTrumpJr.”
And musician John Legend, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump on Twitter, wrote: “There’s a tiny chance that anyone could be a murderer. Get rid of everyone now!!! #trumplogic”
Legend also retweeted a photo of the Aleppo boy, where someone said: “This is not a skittle.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mars Candy, the parent company of Wrigley who makes Skittles, put out a statement saying “Skittles are candy; refugees are people. It’s an inappropriate analogy. We respectfully refrain from further comment, as that could be misinterpreted as marketing.”
Last week, Trump Jr. was criticized for making a “gas chamber” reference when complaining about how the treatment his father has received form the media compared to the coverage from Clinton.
“They’ve let her slide on every discrepancy, on every lie, on every DNC game trying to get Bernie Sanders out of the thing,” he said. “I mean, if Republicans were doing that, they’d be warming up the gas chamber right now. It’s a very different system — there’s nothing fair about it.”
This story has been updated.