Donald Trump Jr. set off a Twitter tempest with a tweet likening Syrian refugees to poisonous Skittles candy.
The meme, sent by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's son, used poorly punctuated language to say, "If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. [sic] Would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem."
That set off a flurry of accusations that Trump Jr. was diminishing the seriousness of the refugee crisis, which is currently the subject of a United Nations summit in New York. There were also claims of plagiarism, some grammatical corrections and plenty of comedy.
A spokesperson at Wrigley, the maker of Skittles, told CNBC via email, "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."
Nick Merrill, a press secretary for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, though, quickly fired back with a three-word tweet: "This is disgusting."
At the U.N.'s first-ever Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York on Monday, world leaders adopted a "New York Declaration" under which they committed to addressing the current crisis and undertook to work toward a safe and orderly migration system by 2018. According to the U.N., more people have been forced to flee their homes due to current global unrest than at any time since World War II.
The U.N. and Unicef have calculated that a record 65 million people are currently displaced, with 4.9 million of those people coming from Syria. Developing nations currently host 86 percent of refugees, according to the U.N. and Unicef.
Some drew comparisons between Trump Jr.'s tweet with the reception of Jews attempting to flee the Holocaust before World War II.
Meanwhile, Joe Walsh, a single-term Republican congressman from Illinois and a right-wing radio-show host who was once kicked off the air for racial slurs, noted that the meme bore a striking resemblance to a nearly identically worded one Walsh had sent a month earlier.
Others corrected Trump Jr.'s grammar and punctuation.
Some just saw the humor.
—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1