November 6, 2020
When it comes to President Donald Trump, there are a lot of ridiculous things to write about. His beef with 17-year-old Greta Thunberg, however, may take the cake. Trump has taken aim at the young climate activist before — and other conservatives have piled onto the ugliness — but this week, Thunberg clapped back at Trump by recycling his insult to her from last year. In the middle of all the election stress, this small exchange is a bit of a welcome distraction.
Now, it’s no surprise that a president who built his campaign on a promise for a border wall that would devastate ecosystems, rolled back water regulations, and then pulled the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement wouldn’t get along with a climate activist. Still, Thunberg is a child, and Trump is a grown man, so you expect him to behave with that in mind.
But last December, Trump decided to make a petty remark about Thunberg online. After the announcement that Thunberg had made Time’s person of the year, Trump tweeted, “So ridiculous. Greta must work on her anger management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
A comment about anger management coming from Trump is pretty ironic. This is, after all, the same president who has spent the months leading up to the election saying he will not leave the White House quietly if he loses. And since Election Day, Trump has falsely claimed to be the winner and urged his followers to be anything but chill.
Let’s be real: Trump’s whole “stop the count!” play is nothing more than a tantrum. So when Trump tweeted out the phrase once again, Thunberg responded, “So ridiculous. Donald must work on his anger management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Donald, Chill!”
Trump’s comment about Thunberg having to “chill” wasn’t the first time he’d come after her online. Last year, her blistering United Nations address drew loads of comments from conservatives, including Trump himself, who mockingly tweeted, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
So in other words, he’s earned more than one smart remark in return and Thunberg has delivered. Once, she updated her Twitter bio in response to Trump’s comment about her U.N. speech. But while Thunberg twisting Trump’s own words back onto him is amusing, it’s still concerning that she had to do so at all. Again: Thunberg is 17. And yet, Trump and other conservative figures have insulted her time and time again.
In January, a former Trump aide even called her “thunder thighs” after a guest brought Thunberg up on his show. That’s bad enough by itself but at that time, Thunberg had also only turned 17 four days ago, which meant that the man, Sebastian Gorka, thought he was making a crack about a 16-year-old’s body. That’s weird behavior. Fortunately, it seems Thunberg is more than capable of defending herself.