The White House:
Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY
Published 5: 07 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019 | Updated 1: 30 a.m. ET Dec. 13, 2019
WASHINGTON – After President Donald Trump mocked teen climate activist Greta Thunberg for being named Time magazine’s “Person of The Year”, the first lady’s anti-bullying campaign “Be Best” was trending online.
Trump was named Person of the Year in 2016 after the election and has criticized the magazine for passing him up in the years since. This year, he took to Twitter and claimed it was “so ridiculous” Thunberg was named. “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
Twitter users were quick to point out that it was a week ago that first lady Melania Trump, the White House and Republicans slammed impeachment inquiry witness Stanford Law School Professor Pamela Karlan for a comment made about Barron Trump, the Trump’s teenage son, whose name was also trending on Twitter on Thursday.
“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics,” Melania Trump wrote on Twitter last week. “Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”
During Thursday’s voting on impeachment articles into Trump, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., pointed out to the same Republican lawmakers who had criticized Karlan last week that Trump “attacked, today, a 16-year-old teenage activist, Greta Thunberg. Are you here to defend that as well?”
“This is a president that attacks everybody to distract,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries says. He “attacks everybody who won’t bend the knee to Donald J. Trump.”
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) December 12, 2019
The magazine stated that Thunberg, the first teenager to be honored with the title, was named for “sounding the alarm about humanity’s predatory relationship with the only home we have, for bringing to a fragmented world a voice that transcends background and borders” and “for showing us all what it might look like when a new generation leads.”
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., also responded on Twitter: “Melania, we agree. Children are off limits. Tell your husband to #bebest and go enroll himself in anger management….”
Others on social media also chimed in:
Dear @FLOTUS, the next time you want to call out others for the way they speak to children, including your son, please remember this tweet from your husband. You may want to speak to your husband NOW to let him know this was not OK!!! You may want to tell him to Be Best!!!
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) December 12, 2019
After Trump’s tweet, Thunberg changed her Twitter bio.
“A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend,” Thunberg wrote, something she has done before to troll criticism from some world leaders.
Thunberg continued to address the attention from Trump on twitter.
The 16-year-old stated that she’s never supported any political party, politician, or ideology” and instead communicates “the science and the risks of failing to act on it. And the fact that the politics needed don’t exist today, neither to the right, left nor center.”
“If anyone thinks that what I and the science are saying is advocating for a political view – then that says more about that person than about me,” Thunberg continued. “That being said – some are certainly failing more than others.”
Former Vice President and 2020 Democratic primary hopeful Joe Biden also chastised Trump, asking, “What kind of president bullies a teenager? @realDonaldTrump, you could learn a few things from Greta on what it means to be a leader.”
Late Thursday, former first lady Michelle Obama offered words of encouragement to Thunberg on Twitter without mentioning Trump by name: “Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on,” she said.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, stated “nothing says ‘mature temperament’ like getting rankled by a 16 year old activist.”
The first lady’s initiative is aimed to focus on addressing three main “pillars”: well-being, opioid abuse among children, and social media usage — including online safety as part of the cyberbullying pillar.
Contributing: David Jackson and Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY.
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