On Monday afternoon, Donald Trump Jr., the son of the Republican presidential nominee, posted a tweet comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles candy, prompting a hailstorm of self-righteous indignation and criticism by the Left.
Here’s the now-infamous tweet:
Almost immediately, pro-Hillary Super-PACs pounced, tearing into the Trumps:
Disgusting and not surprising at all that he would say something this awful. https://t.co/iqdgDi1Qja— Priorities USA (@prioritiesUSA) September 20, 2016
Others claimed that the meme had been appropriated from white supremacists:
Oh wonderful. @DonaldJTrumpJr "skittles" meme comes from a white supremacist website. How does one family keep tweeting memes from racists?— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) September 20, 2016
Some leftists even exploited the tragedy in Syria to score political points against the Trumps:
Humans aren't Skittles. https://t.co/qMXvtQhXQc— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) September 20, 2016
After gauging the political landscape and sensing an opportunity to show its “humane” side, Mars, Inc, the company that produces Skittles, responded to Don Jr’s post with its own tweet:
Mars’ calculated response was widely praised by left-wing commentators and pundits across the internet:
Who knew Skittles would turn out to be the humane voice in this election https://t.co/E2LQcsxxGA— Elizabeth Renzetti (@lizrenzetti) September 20, 2016
I hope the Skittles social media & PR people have an unlimited supply of Skittles.— (((Steph Haberman))) (@StephLauren) September 20, 2016
The problem with this aggressive Social Justice Warrior response is that it intentionally misinterprets what Don Jr. was actually saying.
Many of those who critiqued the tweet argued that Don Jr. had dehumanized refugees, failing to understand the rhetorical function of analogies. Of course, refugees aren’t the same as candy. That goes without saying. But the comparison between incoming Muslim refugees from terrorist hot-spots still holds, that is, if you actually care about what the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has said.
ISIS is "taking advantage of the torrent of migrants to insert operatives into that flow," DNI James Clapper told Congress in February. The terror group is "pretty skilled at phony passports so they can travel ostensibly as legitimate travelers."
FBI Director James Comey has issued similar warnings as well, suggesting that it’s nearly impossible to properly vet all refugees from places like Syria, where personal records are few and far between.
Just this week, the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security revealed that 858 immigrants from countries “of national security concern” were mistakenly granted citizenship by the federal government. Clearly, the system to vet refugees isn’t full-proof.
But leftists don’t really care about the security threat posed by an onslaught of refugees from areas with high-levels of terrorist activity. These grievance-mongers don’t care about the fact that ISIS has already infiltrated refugee resettlement programs in Europe to launch terror attacks in cities in Brussels, Paris, and Berlin. They don’t care that ISIS operatives have actually planned their attacks from refugee shelters in Europe.
They’d much rather pretend to be offended about a tweet and steer the conversation away from serious matters of public safety.