Donald Trump Jr compares Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles

Donald Trump Jr. tweets offensive analogy

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."

"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."

Mars tweet

Nick Merrill, a press secretary for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, though, quickly fired back with a three-word tweet: "This is disgusting."

"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.

.@DonaldJTrumpJr This boy is not a Skittle.

Some drew comparisons between Trump Jr.'s tweet with the reception of Jews attempting to flee the Holocaust before World War II.

This image says it all. In 1939 900 Jews on ship fm Nazi Germany to USA were sent back. 25% died in Holocaust. Not skittles

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.

Hey @DonaldJTrumpJr, that's the point I made last month.Glad you agree.

Others corrected Trump Jr.'s grammar and punctuation.

.@DonaldJTrumpJr Can you people not afford a goddamn copy editor?

College student Jajuan Kelley covers his mouth with a Skittles wrapper as he stands in a crowd of thousands rallying at the Georgia State Capitol in memory of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin on March 26, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jessica McGowan | Getty Images