Trump retweeted a congratulatory message for Thunberg on Thursday morning, calling it “so ridiculous.”
“Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend!” the president wrote. “Chill Greta, Chill!”
Time named Thunberg its person of the year on Wednesday, citing her global crusade to incite greater action on climate change.
“In the 16 months since (her protests began), she has addressed heads of state at the UN, met with the Pope, sparred with the President of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike,” the magazine said.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted in solidarity with Thunberg.
Thunberg responded to Trump as she has in the past: by taking his words and turning them around in her Twitter profile.
“A teenager working on her anger management problem,” Thunberg’s profile read on Thursday. “Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
Thunberg later reacted to any suggestions that her advocacy is politically motivated.
“I’m sometimes called ‘political.’ But I’ve never supported any political party, politician or ideology. I communicate the science and the risks of failing to act on it,” she wrote on Thursday.
Critics were quick to accuse Trump of bullying a child — something his own wife, Melania Trump, condemned as part of her anti-bullying Be Best campaign last week.
“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics,” Melania tweeted on Dec. 4, in response to comments about her son, Barron.
Melania Trump has been pushing her anti-bullying campaign for years, but Donald Trump appears to be immune to her message. The president’s Twitter feed is a near-constant stream of attacks on politicians, celebrities, actors, journalists and, in Thunberg’s case, a minor child.
Many Twitter users mocked Melania for failing to get her message through to the president on Thursday.
“Dear Melania,” wrote user @AbeFroman. “What are your thoughts about the bully-in-chief harassing Greta Thunberg today?”
“It only took her husband a week to turn this tweet into a hypocritical joke,” user Adam Best tweeted.
A rep later responded when asked about Melania’s stance on her husband’s comment.
“It is no secret that the President and First Lady often communicate differently — as most married couples do,” the spokesperson told CNN.
This was the second time Trump attacked Thunberg on Twitter. He previously mocked the teenager after she delivered a fiery address at the United Nations in September. The two also crossed paths at the UN that day, although they did not speak to one another. A photo of Thunberg glaring daggers at Trump went viral at the time.
Thunberg responded to that jab by putting Trump’s words into her Twitter profile, just as she did on Thursday.
Trump was one of four runners-up for Time’s 2019 person of the year. The other finalists included Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the Hong Kong protesters and the anonymous whistleblower in the Trump-Ukraine scandal. Pelosi and the whistleblower have been key figures in the rapidly unfolding impeachment of Trump.
Time named Trump its person of the year in 2016, shortly after he won the U.S. presidential election despite losing the popular vote to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
“Instead of painting a bright vision for a unified future, he magnified the divisions of the present, inspiring new levels of anger and fear within his country,” Time wrote in its feature story for Trump.
“Whatever you think of the man, this much is undeniable: he uncovered an opportunity others didn’t believe existed, the last, greatest deal for a 21st century salesman.”
But Trump’s election campaign took Thunberg’s Time cover to a new, strange level of pettiness.
The re-election campaign photoshopped Trump’s head onto Thunderg’s cover with the caption, “There’s only one Person of the Year.”