Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist, delivered an impassioned and vital speech at the UN this week, calling out world leaders for their failure to tackle climate change.
Being the mature president he is, Donald Trump decided to tweet an apparently mocking and sarcastic response to Thunberg’s appearance at the UN, saying: ‘She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.’
It seems the 16-year-old can not only inspire a global strike for climate action, taking place across 4,500 locations in 150 countries with an estimated four million participants, she can also inspire the president of the United States – and a Fox News pundit – to tweet out some sarcastic nonsense because they can’t think of anything constructive to say.
She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see! https://t.co/1tQG6QcVKO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
While it may seem childish for Trump to tweet such childish things, Thunberg – an actual child – evidently knows how to respond.
Greta herself said in her speech: ‘I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you have come to us young people for hope. How dare you.’
But it turns out she wasn’t far from the schoolyard, as Trump’s playground tactics at trying to intimidate a schoolgirl have backfired (especially ironic given Melania fronts an anti-bullying campaign), as Greta used the classic retaliation technique of repurposing the original phrase for her own Twitter account.
Donald Trump is afraid of #GretaThunberg. He fears her. He's afraid of being in the same room with her. He knows the public loves her and is increasingly despising him. He knows she's smarter and a brilliant speaker. Trump knows Greta's a great leader — and Trump knows he isn't.
— Dr. Jack Brown (@DrGJackBrown) September 23, 2019
Thunberg’s bio used to read: ’16 year old climate activist with Asperger’s. Join the global climate strikes on Sept 20-27th! #FridaysForFuture.’
However, since her now infamous run-in with the US president:
Greta Thunberg giving Donald Trump a death stare is the highlight of 2019 so far pic.twitter.com/J0ZGU6WgsQ
— laura ✨ (@daisyrdley) September 23, 2019
Greta decided to give herself a fresh bio:
In her speech at the UN, Thunberg said:
People are suffering. People are dying and dying ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you.
Trump, apparently, wasn’t really listening though, instead it was reported he used Greta’s speech as a chance to catch up on some shut-eye.
When your troll president gets out-trolled
— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) September 24, 2019
Just a reminder that this is a full-grown, 73-year-old man that occupies the most powerful position in the world, talking shit about a child.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) September 24, 2019
The teen’s passionate speech was, however, shared, retweeted and watched by millions of others, listening to her message and applauding the ‘brave young woman’ who is unafraid to stand up to world leaders and hold them to account.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.