Does First Lady Melania Trump support President Donald Trump in his criticism of Swedish climate-activist teenager Greta Thunberg? Comments made by Melania on Friday in response to criticism that she was silent over Trump's 'bullying' of Greta indicated she does. A statement from Melania's office sought to make a distinction between a 'world famous' Thunberg and 13-year-old Barron, who 'deserves privacy'.
"He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy," Melania's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. "Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches," the statement added. The statement was issued after critics targeted Melania for not addressing Trump's attack on Greta, who was named Time Person of the Year this week. The critics asked if Melania was adopting double standards. They pointed to Melania's quick and decisive defence of Barron after his name was taken in the political mudslinging.
The First Lady runs the 'Be Best' campaign, whose goals include fighting against the bullying of children on social media. In the wake of the controversy, the first lady clarified the campaign goals are in tact. "BeBest is the first lady's initiative, and she will continue to use it to do all she can to help children," her statement said.
The statement also seemed to suggest that the President and the First Lady do not necessarily have to respond to situations in a similar fashion. "It is no secret that the President and First Lady often communicate differently â as most married couples do," the statement added.
What did Trump say?
The row involving Melania and Barron erupted after Trump criticised at Thunberg after she was named Time magazine's Person of the Year. "So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, chill!", Trump tweeted.
Trump's mocking of the teenage activist came days after Melania reacted indignantly against Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, who mentioned Barron during her testimony at a House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing. "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 tweeted.
Barron and Greta
Lashing out at Trump, Pamela Karlan had said that while Trump can "name his son Barron, he can't make him a baron". There's a media convention in place that prevents reporting on presidential children under 18, and hence the 13-year-old, Trump's youngest child, is not seen much around publicly. Critics asked if her silence over Trump's outburst against Greta, who has an autism spectrum diagnosis, was in stark contrast to her stance in Barron bullying.
Time wrote on its website, " Thunberg won the award for sounding the alarm about humanity's predatory relationship with the only home we have...for showing us all what it might look like when a new generation leads."
Reacting to Trump's criticism, Thunberg updated her Twitter bio- 'A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.