Tuesday 15 October 2019

Thunberg hits back on Twitter after president's sarcastic tweet

Icy stare: Greta Thunberg watched Donald Trump as he arrived. Photo: Andrew Hofstetter
Icy stare: Greta Thunberg watched Donald Trump as he arrived. Photo: Andrew Hofstetter

John Wagner

Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg shot back yesterday at US President Donald Trump's attempt to mock her on Twitter by changing her profile on the social media site to reflect his taunting remark.

Late on Monday, Mr Trump retweeted a clip of the 16-year-old's speech to a United Nations climate summit in which she angrily denounced world leaders for failing to tackle climate change by demanding: "How dare you?"

Mr Trump (73) commented: "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!"

Ms Thunberg shot back, changing her Twitter biography to: "A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future."

A Reuters video of Ms Thunberg glaring at Mr Trump as he entered the United Nations in New York on Monday went viral on social media. Mr Trump has questioned climate science and has challenged every major US regulation aimed at combating climate change.

Ms Thunberg started missing school on Fridays a year ago to protest for climate action outside the Swedish parliament, inspiring millions of children and sparking a global climate strike movement known as Fridays for Future.

Appearing on a panel at the UN climate summit, Ms Thunberg chastised leaders for praising young activists like herself while failing to deliver on drastic actions needed to avert the worst effects of climate change, and she warned that if the world continued with business as usual, her generation would face an insurmountable catastrophe.

"This is all wrong," said Ms Thunberg who, with tears in her eyes and her face flushed, was visibly emotional as she spoke.

Cameras caught Ms Thunberg giving Mr Trump an icy stare as he arrived at the UN gathering earlier in the day.

Mr Trump, who in the past has called climate change a "hoax," gave scant attention to the issue that dominated the day on Monday.

After scheduling one of his administration's marquee events - a forum on religious freedom - during the UN climate summit on Monday, he dropped by the climate event for 14 minutes in a surprise visit. He did not speak and left after listening to remarks from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Angela Merkel, the outgoing German chancellor.

Meanwhile, Fox News has apologised for a guest who called environmental activist Ms Thunberg mentally ill, and said he would never appear on the network again.

Michael Knowles of 'The Daily Wire' made the comment during a segment on a Fox evening newscast, also saying Ms Thunberg was being exploited by her parents and the left wing.

Fox had no comment about its own prime-time host, Laura Ingraham, who likened Ms Thunberg to a murderous child cult leader from a Stephen King short story.

The network said in a statement that Knowles' comment was disgraceful.

Mr Trump took centre stage at the UN General Assembly yesterday to deliver a strong defence of nationalism while exhorting the world to act against Iran's "bloodlust" and rising aggression.

The president called on the global leaders seated before him to join the US in further isolating Tehran, pushing them to use economic sanctions to pressure Iran to give up its nuclear program and stop attacks that are rattling the Middle East.

"Not only is Iran the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism, but Iran's leaders are fueling the tragic wars in both Syria and Yemen," Mr Trump said. "All nations have a duty to act."

Focusing on the United States' self-interests, Mr Trump said the nation's security was jeopardised by the threat posed by Iran and warned Tehran to stop its aggression toward Washington's allies in the Middle East.

"The United States does not seek conflict with any other nation," Mr Trump added. "We desire peace, cooperation, and mutual gain with all. But I will never fail to defend America's interests."

Irish Independent

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