Among the many ideas Trump Jr. has expressed in the past 24 hours — and there are a lot of ideas on this dude's Twitter feed — was this:
Actually, it's the younger Trump's metaphor that says it all. Or, that's what Denise Young, vice president of corporate affairs at Wrigley Americas, the Chicago-based company that produces and sells Skittles, apparently thought. Trump's decision to compare the more than 4.8 million human beings that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says have been set adrift by conflict in Syria to a bowl of candy with assorted flavors was not welcome.
The comparison between candy and people — 39.3 percent of whom are children 11 or younger — just didn't sit right with Young. It seemed to strike Young as absurdly insensitive ... or maybe just absurd. The vast majority of the 4.8 million people scattered by the Syrian conflict are living in what are often tent cities and do not have the legal right to work in the countries to which they have fled. About 1.12 million have sought refuge and asylum in Europe. Exactly 13,828 Syrians have been admitted to the United States between Jan. 1, 2014, and Sept. 20, 2016.
MarketWatch, the economic news outlet, called Young's response simply "the best reply" to the younger Trump's refugee commentary. (See text of Wrigley's response at the top of this post. Seth Abramovitch is a journalist with the Hollywood Reporter.)
And really, there's a limit to what can and needs to be said here about why Wrigley responded the way they did.
We know that the men involved in the Paris terrorist attacks were Europeans of Middle Eastern heritage; some were born on the continent and as such, radicalized in Europe, according to the BBC. And as The Washington Post has reported, we know that one of the men had a passport — believed to be fake — indicating that he may have entered Europe as a refugee. However, nothing more has been determined. The matter remains under investigation.
We also know that the vast majority of bank robbers, rapists and other criminals are men. Few would consider it reasonable to treat all men as if they are suspects in these crimes when they occur until some unspecified process allows us to figure out who they are and what they have done and with whom they associate. But that's precisely how Donald Trump has suggested that a Trump administration would deal with refugee resettlement requests.
The Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged that refugee screening is a challenging task but has not suggested that a total shutdown is the solution. Instead, officials have said repeatedly that they will continue to adjust the process to render it more rigorous in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks.
Those are the facts. However, the younger Trump's Twitter feed reads like a running summary of the essence of his father's political philosophy.
There are various references to the threats posed by refugees and other immigrants, overt claims that refugees in Germany have spurred a rape crisis and several examples of what seems like a near obsession with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and his read on Merkel's recent comments acknowledging that admitting so many Syrian refugees came with a political cost for her party and created domestic tensions that bolstered the political cause of the far right. The younger Trump characterized Merkel's comments as Merkel having admitted to wrongly allowing in refugees.
Not quite, Donald Jr. Not quite. This is what Merkel actually said, according to the Guardian:
In an unusually self-critical but also combative speech, the German chancellor said on Monday afternoon she was fighting to make sure there would be no repetition of last year’s chaotic scenes on Germany’s borders, when “for some time, we didn’t have enough control”. “No one wants a repeat of last year’s situation, including me,” Merkel said.However, she did not distance herself from her decision last September to keep open Germany’s borders to thousands of refugees stranded at Keleti station in Budapest. The mistake, the chancellor said, was that she and her government had not been quicker to prepare for the mass movement of people triggered by conflicts in the Middle East.“If I was able to, I would turn back time by many, many years, so that I could have prepared the whole government and the authorities for the situation which hit us out of the blue in the late summer of 2015,” she said.
But the younger Trump's leap from Merkel's more nuanced comments to the conclusion that refugees are the source of so many, if not all, of Germany's problems offers a veritable illustration of the political philosophy that the elder Trump and some large portion of his supporters embrace.
To Trump and his supporters, America's problems are rooted in immigration, particularly illegal immigration and politically correct efforts to aid the millions of people made stateless by the Syrian war. As such, the Trump doctrine holds that most, if not all of America's problems can and will be excised by deporting millions, embracing the type of domestic "profiling" for which Israel has long been rebuked by international human rights agencies, a temporary halt to refugee admissions and withdrawal from various trade deals and defense pacts.
Trump's philosophy is what he calls America first. In effect it is America only.
But when corporations, which are not known for declining free publicity, must point out that a comparison born of that philosophy is callous, that really says quite a lot.