Earlier today, Donald Trump, Jr., shared an alt-right meme on Twitter comparing the Syrian Refugees to poisoned Skittles. The meme has a sordid history and echoes a similar, anti-Semitic meme used by the Nazis to make children scared of Jewish people.
However, that isn’t why we’re here. We’re here to discuss one of the greatest ironies of this meme: that Trump himself is guilty of poisoning people who eat at his restaurants and may have killed at least one person as a result.
FDA Food Police
For a moment, let’s back away from the meme and discuss Trump’s relationship with the FDA.
Trump doesn’t like the FDA. During a rant last Thursday — a rant that was quickly retracted — the Trump campaign noted that it was one of several “specific regulations to be eliminated” under his new economic plan. The rant targeted the FDA standards for farming and food production, dog food production, and safe cooking temperatures.
Those regulations are the same ones in place to keep people from being poisoned by undercooked food or to protect people with food allergies or sensitivities. Trump, clearly, does not appear to care if your grandma or your dog is poisoned; caveat emptor. His rant revealed that much.
And really, one has to wonder if the history Trump’s restaurants have with the FDA is part of that — because trust me when I say it’s not a good one. The Trump food business has a long rap sheet of FDA violations and at least one death on record: Thomas Purgatorio.
Back in the 1980s, Mr. Purgatorio and his wife ate “salmonella-poisoned mousse” at a restaurant called Buffet by the Sea in Trump’s Castle Hotel and Casino. Katheleen Purgatorio fell ill, but nowhere near as sick as her husband, who died. The now widowed Purgatorio would go on to sue Trump’s restaurant for $11 million.
Purgatorio would eventually win. New Jersey health officials eventually identified the restaurant as ground zero for a salmonella outbreak.
In November 2012, the DJT restaurant in the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas landed 51 violations, “including month-old caviar and expired yogurt.” Other expired foods included peanut dressing, cranberry juice, duck, veal stock, and tomato sauce. Eggs, cream, cut tomatoes, potatoes, and sausage were cited as being kept at “unsafe temperatures” by inspectors, who also found “no measures to destroy parasites in undercooked halibut and salmon.”
And that’s just two restaurants — of many. The Taj Mahal, Trump Cafe and Grill, and others have all received a gross number violations. This alone should mean you’re greeting Trump’s dislike for the FDA with suspicion. The phrase that should be playing in your head now is, “Republicans want less government for the same reason criminals want less police.”
Now, consider for a moment the irony of Trump, Jr. comparing Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles, even as a hypothetical thought experiment — offensive to good sense and taste as it might be — to the fact that Trump Sr.’s restaurants have literally poisoned people before. And he supports the meme.
Consider that food poisoning hits 1 in 4 Americans, giving you a 1 in 500 chance of dying from food poisoning, while you have a 1 in 3.6 billion chance of falling victim to a terrorist attack carried out by the refugees, according to the pinko liberal organization, the Cato Institute.
To repeat: you have a greater chance of dying from food poisoning than you do dying from a terrorist attack. And Trump’s restaurants, while not at the frontline, certainly aren’t helping to combat that, even while Trump’s family rehashes old Nazi memes to push an isolationist xenophobic agenda.
It’s an irony that can’t go unstated, and another illustration of Trump’s hypocrisy. It’s also a perfect illustration of what Trump’s promising this country: a mess of empty calories that’s almost certainly poisoned.
Featured image via Sean Rayford/Getty Images