In the first three hours of December 12, President Donald Trump tweeted or retweeted 89 times, on topics ranging from a “BIG DEAL with China” to “ANTIFA” to judge confirmations. His tirade of content also included an attack on 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who was named Time magazine’s Person of The Year for 2019.
“So ridiculous,” the President of the United States wrote, quote tweeting a message that congratulated the young climate activist on the honor. “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
In response, Greta changed her profile bio to: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
And pretty much immediately, #BeBest — First Lady Melania Trump’s program to stop online bullying — began trending on twitter.
Many people online pointed out that just a week before this, both Melania and Donald Trump scolded the public after one of the legal scholars testifying at an impeachment inquiry hearing made a joke involving their son, Barron.
“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it,” the first lady tweeted. Karlan later apologized for saying “the Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the President can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron” during the hearings.
Trump’s focus on Time’s Person of the Year is nothing new. He was named Person of the Year in 2016 and has previously used doctored photos showing him on the cover of the magazine in his private clubs and offices. And he has repeatedly targeted Greta, too: In September, he mocked her at the United Nations after she said “people are dying” because of the climate crisis.
“She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future,” Trump tweeted in response. “So nice to see!”
Greta didn’t respond to those comments, but did say she has no interest in meeting with Trump.
“I don’t understand why I would do that,” she said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “I don’t see what I could tell him that he hasn’t already heard, and I just think it would be a waste of time, really.” Time that Greta says we don’t have.
“We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis,” Greta said at the COP24 plenary session in 2018, adding: “If solutions within this system are so impossible to find then maybe we should change the system itself. We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people!”