Donald Trump has tweeted a racist meme or two during his run for the presidency, but the most recent bigoted tweet associated with the campaign — the bowl of Skittles laced with “poison” refugees — came from Donald Trump Jr., son of the Republican candidate, who will be in Grand Junction Thursday.
When the Trump campaign flirts with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, Donald Trump Jr. is frequently close at hand.
Here are a few times Donald Trump Jr. got cozy with some unsavory characters:
First, the Skittles/refugee meme. This isn’t a new meme. Conservative radio host Joe Walsh, who lost his show for using racial slurs, tweeted a version a few months ago and stepped up to take credit when Trump Jr. tweeted it as original work. An older version used M&Ms. And there’s an anti-racist M&M response meme — an array of beautiful colors on the outside, all the same and delicious on the inside.
Some people have linked the M&M meme back to a feminist version that circulated in 2014 to explain why women might be distrustful of men. Regardless of the logic of the analogy, in case it needs to be said, women aren’t states. An individual woman declining to give her time and attention to an individual man is not the same as the government setting policy toward an entire class of people. Vox traces the substitution of M&Ms with Skittles to a variety of horrifying memes mocking the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman while walking back from getting Skittles and ice tea from a convenience store.
But the idea of people of a particular race or religion being “poison” shows up in an anti-Semitic children’s book that was popular in Nazi Germany. It goes like this: “Just as a single poisonous mushroom can kill a whole family, so a solitary Jew can destroy a whole village, a whole city, even an entire Volk.”
Maybe Donald Trump Jr. doesn’t know about Nazi children’s literature, but this isn’t an isolated incident.
Back in March, Donald Trump Jr. appeared with a white supremacist on a radio show. During an appearance on “Liberty Roundtable,” he was questioned by James Edwards, who has his own show, “The Political Cesspool,” which the Southern Poverty Law Center has called “racist and anti-Semitic.” (Edwards says he is not a white supremacist, just a paleoconservative Christian who thinks that whites are “in for the fight of their lives.”) The campaign later said they were unaware of Edwards’ personal views.
And earlier this month, Donald Trump Jr. shared a white supremacist meme on Instagram that played off Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment by showing Trump, Trump Jr. and other allies alongside Pepe the Frog, who has been adopted by the “alt-right” as a symbol. (I’m going to use the word “alt-right” just this once because it’s the term you’ll see if you start googling this stuff, but this isn’t some cool indie version of conservatism. It’s racism rebranded for the internet age.)
And on Tuesday, he tweeted a link to a year-old Breitbart article that claimed Western women would be “sacrificed” in a rape epidemic carried out by immigrant men from non-Western countries.
Donald Trump Jr. appears at 6 p.m. Thursday in Grand Junction at the Mesa County Fairgrounds in a event being called “Autumn Fever: A Campfire with Donald Trump Jr.” The talk is supposed to focus on issues relevant to hunters.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s vice presidential candidate, is also in Colorado on Thursday. He’s talking down in the Springs.
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