US President Donald Trump was slammed online on Thursday for calling teen climate activist Greta Thunberg’s Time Magazine honour “ridiculous”.
The 16-year-old Swedish activist was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year this week for efforts to hold world leaders accountable and take 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 four million people to join the global climate strike,” the magazine said on Wednesday.
The Swedish teenager has become a symbol of a growing movement of young climate activists after leading weekly school strikes in her country that inspired similar actions in about 100 cities worldwide. She has drawn large crowds with her fiery appearances at protests and conferences over the past year and a half.
Reacting to the honour, Trump on Thursday tweeted: “Greta must work on her Anger Management Problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend!”
Trump had been shortlisted for the 2019 Time honour. “Chill, Greta, Chill!” he added on Twitter.
Thunberg appeared to respond by changing her Twitter profile bio to read: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
She has been outspoken about her diagnosis with Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder associated with high intelligence and impaired social skills. “I have Aspergers and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm,” she tweeted this year. “And – given the right circumstances – being different is a superpower.”
Many showed their support for Thunberg online.
“16-year-old Greta Thunberg outclasses and outsmarts trump, whose only ‘strength’ is the immature insult. Plus, she has a better sense of humor than he does. Pretty obvious that the right person won,” tweeted one Twitter user.
16-year-old Greta Thunberg outclasses and outsmarts trump, whose only "strength" is the immature insult. Plus, she has a better sense of humor than he does. Pretty obvious that the right person won.
— C. Blair-Broeker (@ctbb) December 12, 2019
“Greta must work on her anger management problem? Are you serious? I can’t believe Trump is this petty, dumb, and blackhearted to bully a 16-year-old kid out of pure jealousy that she made the cover of Time Magazine for Person of the Year over him. Trump needs to deal with it,” tweeted another.
Greta must work on her anger management problem? Are you serious? I can’t believe Trump is this petty, dumb, and blackhearted to bully a 16-year-old kid out of pure jealousy that she made the cover of Time Magazine for Person of the Year over him. Trump needs to deal with it.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) December 12, 2019
“If Greta chills, the planet is going to get hotter. If Trump chills, this plant just might be saved,” said another Twitter user.
If Greta chills, this planet is going to get even hotter.
If Trump chills, this planet just might be saved.#ClimateCrisis
— Sunjeev Bery (@SunjeevBery) December 12, 2019
In 2015, the US president attacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for “ruining Germany” after she was named Person of the Year, when he was listed as a runner-up.
It is also not the first time Trump has gone after the teen. After Thunberg addressed the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York earlier this year, Trump tweeted what appeared to a sarcastic comment, saying: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
Days later, Thunberg said she did not “understand why grown-ups would choose to mock children and teenagers for just communicating and acting on the science when they could do something good instead”.
She added: “We’ve become too loud for people to handle, so people want to silence us.”
Trump is the second world leader to take aim at Thunberg this week. Her concern over the slayings of Indigenous Brazilians in the Amazon drew a harsh rebuke from Brazil’s president on Tuesday.
“Greta said that the Indians died because they were defending the Amazon,” Jair Bolsonaro said. “It’s impressive that the press is giving space to a brat like that,” he added, using the Portuguese word “pirralha.”
Thunberg responded by changing her bio on Twitter, where she has over three million followers, to say “Pirralha”.