Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg was named TIME magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year for her work as an environmental activist and advocate. Thunberg is the youngest person to receive this recognition. Donald Trump, who was a finalist for the position, and who himself was dubbed Person of the Year in 2016, responded to Thunberg’s cover in a manner suggesting that he, not Greta, is the teenager in this equation. After TIME’s cover was revealed, Trump took to Twitter to mock Thunberg and suggest that she seek anger management and watch a movie with a friend.
This isn’t the first time Trump has bullied Thunberg on Twitter. In September, Thunberg gave a speech urging adults to act on climate change. "I shouldn't be up here," the teenager said in her U.N. climate action speech. "I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
Moving, for sure, but not particularly happy. Trump, who has described climate change as a hoax and whose administration continues to attack the environment, made haste on Twitter to diminish her as a “very happy young girl” as her speech went viral.
Trump attacking people, and specifically women, on social media is nothing new. Notable with regard to his attacks on Thunberg, however, is that many Republicans have criticized people for making reference to Trump’s 13-year-old son Barron. Trump’s own wife, Melania, recently tweeted that, as minors, kids should be “kept out of politics.”
In spite of Melania’s “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign, Trump seems to have no issue attacking teenagers—or anyone.
How has Thunberg reacted to Trump’s latest outburst? With a lot of hilarity and patience, as usual. Instead of replying to Trump directly, she updated her Twitter bio.
She made a similar move when Trump described her as a “happy young girl,” updating her bio to mimic his phrasing: “A very young happy girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.” She has also said that she is uninterested in meeting with Trump to discuss climate change, astutely noting that it would be a “waste of time.”
Teenagers shouldn't have to handle being bullied by the sitting U.S. president with this much grace and maturity, but Thunberg continues to lead by example.