President Trump seemed to mock Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg on Tuesday, the day after her emotional speech at the United Nations charging world leaders with stealing “my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.” But Thunberg turned Trump’s heavy-handed irony back on him using his favorite medium, Twitter.
“She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future,” Trump wrote in a tweet that included a video clip of her speech. “So nice to see!”
The 16-year-old responded by changing her Twitter bio to read: “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
In an angry and impassioned speech at the U.N. climate summit Monday, Thunberg denounced world leaders for their neglect of the threat of global warming.
“This is all wrong,” Thunberg said, reading from a piece of paper. “I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you come to us young people for hope. How dare you.”
“People are suffering,” the 16-year-old continued through tears. “People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
“You say you hear us and understand the urgency, but no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that,” she added. “Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.”
Trump, whose administration has rolled back environmental protections and withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, was not scheduled to attend the event, but he showed up briefly, arriving after Thunberg had spoken and leaving after about 10 minutes.
Thunberg, though, did see Trump in the hallway.
Last week, the teenager testified on Capitol Hill, urging lawmakers to “listen to the scientists” who say climate change is real and that humans are responsible — conclusions that Trump has resisted.
“I want you to unite behind science,” Thunberg said in her testimony before the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis on Wednesday. “I want you to unite behind science. And then I want you to take action.”
“This is not political views or my opinions,” she added. “This is science.”
Thunberg, who has been nominated for a Nobel Prize for her work raising awareness about climate change, has become an inspirational figure for fellow teens. Last month, she sailed from Europe to the United States on a zero-emission yacht.
Arriving in New York City after her 15-day trip across the Atlantic Ocean, she was asked if she had a message for Trump.
“My message for him is listen to the science,” Thunberg told reporters. “And he obviously doesn't do that.”
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