The chance that an American would be killed in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion a year
On Monday, Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the Syrian refugee crisis. In fewer than 140 characters, Trump compared the millions of displaced Syrians to Skittles.
The tweet’s idea is simple: Don’t allow any refugees into the United States because one bad Skittle will spoil the whole bunch. Except that’s not how statistics work.
To illustrate the wrongness of this tweet, the Washington Post looked to a newly released report by the Cato Institute. The group found that each year, “the risk to an American of being killed by a refugee in a terror attack is 1 in 3.64 billion.” As the report also notes:
From 1975 through 2015, the annual chance that an American would be murdered in a terrorist attack carried out by a foreign-born terrorist was 1 in 3,609,709. Foreigners on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks, whereas those on other tourist visas killed 1 in 3.9 million a year. The chance that an American would be killed in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee was 1 in 3.64 billion a year.
So, statistically, it would take “one-and-a-half Olympic swimming pools of Skittles,” as Washington Post points out, to actually have 3 poisonous skittles.
This is not the first, nor likely the last, time candy has been used in a racist analogy. As the Associated Press reports, Mike Huckabee used peanuts in his analogy condemning refugees entering the United States during his failed presidential run last year. In fact, this isn’t the first time Trump Jr.’s very own Skittle analogy was shared, as he plagiarized the tweet from former Congressman Joe Walsh.
For its part, Skittles was quick to reply to the outrage-inducing tweet saying in a statement,
"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."
Check out a few of the reaction’s to Trump’s tweet below.