Social media users were in an uproar earlier this week after Trump aimed his Twitter fingers at Thunberg over her being named Time magazine’s Person of the Year 2019.
From netizens to fellow politicians such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, users on various platforms chided the US president’s tweet and called him a bully. Many argued that president was even more out of bounds for verbally attacking a child who has also been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.
The first lady, who just last week said in a rare tweet about her son Barron, “A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics,” was also caught in social media users’ crosshairs for her silence - despite having a campaign against cyberbullying entitled “Be Best.”
While Trump and FLOTUS’ child cannot even be loosely referenced, Grisham explained to CNN in an exclusive statement on Friday that Thunberg is fair game.
"BeBest is the First Lady's initiative, and she will continue to use it to do all she can to help children. It is no secret that the President and First Lady often communicate differently - as most married couples do,” Grisham said. “Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy.”
The White House’s defense of the president comes just hours after former First Lady Michelle Obama expressed her support for Thunberg via social media early Friday morning.
“Don’t let anyone dim your light. Like the girls I’ve met in Vietnam and all over the world, you have so much to offer us all,” the former FLOTUS said in a Friday tweet. “Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on.”
.@GretaThunberg, don’t let anyone dim your light. Like the girls I’ve met in Vietnam and all over the world, you have so much to offer us all. Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on.— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) December 13, 2019
This is not the first time Trump and his wife have come under fire from the online public for cyberbullying. Back in September, the US president mocked Thunberg for her emotional address at the United Nations Climate Action Summit.
"She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!" Trump said in a tweet, which immediately prompted backlash from netizens.
In both cases, Thunberg quietly clapped back by adding the insults to her bio section on her Twitter account.