POLITICS

White House Indicates Greta Thunberg Is Fair Game Because She's An 'Activist'

The press secretary explains a different standard for Barron Trump when pressed about the first lady's position on the president's insults toward the celebrated girl.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham indicated Friday that 16-year-old climate champion Greta Thunberg can be attacked publicly by President Donald Trump because she’s an “activist,” while Trump’s teen son, Barron, “wants and deserves privacy.”

Grisham issued a statement explaining the different treatment the White House apparently finds acceptable for the two teenagers in response to a question from CNN about the first lady’s position on President Donald Trump’s attacks on Thunberg. The first lady last week criticized a witness for referring to her son’s name during the House impeachment hearings, saying a “minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics.” The first lady has yet to respond directly to her husband’s attacks on the 16-year-old climate change activist.

Grisham said it’s “no secret that the President and First Lady often communicate differently — as most married couples do. Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy.” The statement also said that Melania Trump will continue to use her “Be Best” anti-bullying initiative to “help children,” though it wasn’t clear from the statement if that includes children who stand up for causes.

Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, in an example of presidential versus imperial power, quipped last week at the impeachment hearings that, although “the president can name his son Barron, he cannot make him a baron.” The first lady angrily accused Kaplan of “obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.” Karlan later apologized for mentioning Barron’s name.

The president on Thursday bashed Thunberg after she was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year. He called the award for her “ridiculous” and said she needs to work on her “anger management problem,” apparently because she speaks of frustrations that little is being done about climate change.

Trump also appeared to mock Thunberg in a tweet in September after her tearful speech about climate change at the United Nations. He quipped that she seemed like a “very happy young girl” with a “bright future” — that he apparently did not believe should include being Person of the Year. 

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