WASHINGTON • The eldest son of Mr Donald Trump has triggered an online storm with a tweet comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl containing an assortment of tainted and untainted candies.
"This image says it all," Mr Donald Trump Jr, 38, wrote on Monday, in a tweet showing a picture of a white bowl filled with the popular, rainbow-coloured Skittles sweets.
Written above the image is: "If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That's our Syria refugee problem."
The Twitter post - showing the familiar "Trump-Pence 2016" logo with the presidential campaign slogan "Make America Great Again!" - was met with immediate scorn from users of the popular micro-blogging site.
"I'm not even big on Skittles but now I will buy up every single packet," wrote @SarahSahim.
"Is Donald Trump's new campaign slogan 'Fear The Rainbow'?" wrote Twitter user @AngrySalmond.
The Guardian newspaper said that apart from being controversial, the tweet is not original. It said a former congressman and right-wing talk show host, Mr Joe Walsh, whose statements have been criticised as incendiary, has voiced similar ideas. Mr Walsh quickly joined in the discussion, tweeting: "That's the point I made last month. Glad you agree."
Skittles manufacturer Wrigley distanced itself from the comment.
"Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it is an appropriate analogy," the company said.
A spokesman for the Hillary Clinton campaign said the tweet was "disgusting".
Mr Trump Jr is the presidential candidate's eldest son, the first child of his marriage to Ms Ivana Trump. He works as a real estate executive with the Trump Organisation. Last week, he was criticised for comparing the treatment his father has received from the media to a "gas chamber" .
Mr Trump senior has sparked waves of criticism with his comments on race, immigrants and refugees, including calling for a ban on Muslim travellers to the United States.The brash businessman is also strongly opposed to plans by President Barack Obama to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the US by the end of this month.