State Politics

Skittles comment shouldn’t be ‘distraction,’ Trump’s son says in Boise

Trump Jr. campaigns for dad in Boise

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump, Jr., promotes his father's campaign during a brief stop in Boise on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016 at the Jackson Jet Center. Trump Jr. talked briefly about his father's goals if electe
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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump, Jr., promotes his father's campaign during a brief stop in Boise on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016 at the Jackson Jet Center. Trump Jr. talked briefly about his father's goals if electe

Donald J. Trump Jr. defended as a “simple metaphor” his Twitter post comparing Syrian refugees to hidden poison in a bowl of candy, in a short press briefing that followed a fly-by fundraiser Thursday at the Boise Airport.

“I don’t want it to be a distraction. To me it was a simple metaphor,” the eldest son of the Republican presidential candidate told reporters. “People will today make what they want of anything. They see the worst in everything and they look for subtext that doesn’t exist. … My message was very simple. We just have to be careful about what we’re doing.”

The younger Trump is on a fundraising tour through Western states, said Layne Bangerter, the Trump campaign’s Idaho chairman, who is traveling with him. Attendees said about 75 people were at the private event, held in a commercial hangar off the main airport terminal.

The previous day, Trump Jr. visited prominent Republican donor Frank Vandersloot at the headquarters of Vandersloot’s Idaho Falls company, Melaleuca, EastIdahoNews.com reported. VanderSloot supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio during the GOP primary.

A year ago, VanderSloot said he admired Donald Trump’s ability to resonate with the public but believed Trump’s hype would fade. “He’s always been in it for Trump, and he will always be in it for Trump first,” he told the Associated Press then.

All told, Trump Jr.’s Boise visit lasted less than 90 minutes. Roughly 25 protesters outside the airport brought up the Skittles comment among their objections to his stop here.

“We’re all for immigration, but we’re all for legal immigration,” he said. “I’m the son of an immigrant. My father’s the son of an immigrant. But we have to be able to vet the people coming into our country. We can’t do it haphazardly.

“Our opponent called, let’s call it 100 million Americans, ‘deplorables,’ for being sick of watching Washington, D.C., ship their jobs abroad, for racking up debt that we can’t possibly cover,” Trump added. “If a metaphor offends someone, I can understand that and maybe that’s the world in which we live today. But I’m not comparing someone to candy. It’s a statistical thing. We have to be careful who we let in this country.”

A group of about 25 protesters chanted "show us your taxes" across the street from the Jackson Jet Center at the Boise Airport on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump, Jr. made a quick stop i

Bill Dentzer: 208-377-6438, @IDSBillD. Statesman reporter Erin Fenner contributed.

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