The White House has rejected comparisons between the president’s rarely seen 13-year-old son, Barron Trump, and globe-trotting 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, despite critics insisting otherwise.
First lady Melania Trump had publicly bristled after an impeachment inquiry witness dropped Barron’s name in a laugh line at a House Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this month.
“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it,” she tweeted Dec. 4.
A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) December 4, 2019
That and the fact that the first lady’s Be Best initiative calls for fighting cyberbullying set the stage of accusations of a double standard last week after her husband, President Donald Trump, sent a mocking tweet Thunberg’s way after she was named Time’s Person of the Year for her work on climate change, an issue upon which she and the president are poles apart.
“So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
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
The New York Times, for example, headlined a story, “Despite ‘Be Best’ Campaign, Melania Trump Stays Mum as Husband Mocks Greta Thunberg.”
“Cyberbullying crusader Melania Trump silent on her husband’s mocking of 16-year-old Thunberg,” CNN declared.
Many on Twitter joined in.
Dear Melania: You silence on you “husband’s” bullying of Greta Thunberg says everything we need to know about you
Your faux outrage about the Barron thing, which was in no way an attack on him, makes us hate you
There’s a reason why you are the least admired FLOTUS in history
— Pam Keith (@PamKeithFL) December 12, 2019
Melania trump is an affront to every dignified, decent woman who has ever held the position of FLOTUS.
She is a plagiaristic, hypocritical birther running a fake anti-bullying program and deserves every ounce of scorn the internet can muster. https://t.co/UX8JUHn8ka
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) December 14, 2019
Former first lady Michelle Obama offered her support for Thunberg.
.@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
The White House, however, pointed out the difference between criticism of Thunberg and Barron.
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) December 13, 2019
“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. Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in the statement.
That response didn’t sit well with many in the media.
Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty took aim at the first lady in a piece headlined, “Melania Trump’s indefensible defense of her bully husband.”
The New York Post wrote that “Melania Trump has no problem with president taunting Greta Thunberg.”
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