Speaking to the Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump stated he is not in the know about Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
“I don’t really know anything about her,” Trump said before calling Thunberg “very angry”.
The remarks came after the 17-year-old told the WEF that business and political leaders should do more to combat climate change, urging them to perceive it as a “real crisis”.
“We need to start listening to the science, and treat this crisis with the importance it deserves,” she underscored.
This was followed by Trump’s special address at the WEF, in which he took an apparent swipe at Thunberg and her supporters, saying “This is not a time for pessimism. This is a time for optimism”.
To “embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse”, he added.
Netizens have meanwhile remained at odds over the latest Thunberg-Trump showdown, with some giving kudos to the Swedish climate guru and berating POTUS.
She has more brains than the whole a Trump family combined.— ssmith (@ssmith90904884) January 21, 2020
I hope Greta calls him "very stupid, very evil and very drunk!", but she's way more classy than all of the TRUMP CRIME FAMILY put together! pic.twitter.com/TUlFrOSpAm— James Davis (@JamesDa40238647) January 21, 2020
Why is the President of the United States afraid of a 16 year old girl? He's weak, scared, and can't compete with people who have ethics, forward vision, and want to do the right thing. Trump's a fraud. #ConvictAndRemoveTrumpNow— IAmTheWhistleblower (@IAmTheWhistleb1) January 21, 2020
Embarrassment Embarrassment Embarrassment 🤮🤮🤮🤮🤡🤡🤡🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬— Patty Hawthorne (@patty_hawthorne) January 21, 2020
trump confuses anger with passion, but we should all be angry about his constant climate change denials.— unique1 (@colli1900s) January 21, 2020
He is so out of his element. His ignorance shines even brighter when surrounded by a high caliber crowd.— Nancy (@nancy_linehan) January 21, 2020
“He is so out of his element. His ignorance shines even brighter when surrounded by a high calibre crowd,” one user asserted.
Others, however, berated the truant activist Thunberg, insisting that she should have been at school rather than a WEF gathering.
Go to school little girl— @Hey_its_Don🗯 (@Hey_its_Don_) January 21, 2020
Shouldn’t she be in school.— Tommy B (@TJBSKY25) January 21, 2020
How can she not be in school?— Mike D (@common_sense601) January 21, 2020
The comments followed Thunberg’s interview with the BBC in late December during which she said that she "wouldn't have wasted [her] time" talking to Trump about the climate crisis at the UN event.
“Honestly, I don't think I would have said anything because obviously he's not listening to scientists and experts, so why would he listen to me,” Thunberg said.
The remarks were preceded by a Trump tweet in late December, in which he questioned Time's choice of Person of the Year 2019, slamming their decision to grant this title to Thunberg as 'ridiculous'.
So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill! https://t.co/M8ZtS8okzE— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2019
In September, POTUS referred to the 17-year-old as “a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future”, in a seemingly sarcastic remark that prompted Thunberg to use it as her temporary status on her Twitter page at the time.
Earlier, she made splashes at a UN General Assembly gathering, where she delivered a key speech, accusing world leaders of “having stolen her dreams and her childhood”.
“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”, she said.
Thunberg rose to international prominence after she started staging solitary school strikes outside the Swedish parliament last year, urging the government to reduce carbon emissions.
She then launched the Fridays for Future movement, which calls on students across the world to skip school so as to attend demonstrations for climate protection.