It’s not enough for Republicans to simply deny the existential threat to our species that is climate change, they also insist on smearing and belittling anyone who stands up and tries to do something to preserve our planet. Much of the GOP is in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry and others—one must presume—are actually ignorant enough to believe that anthropogenic climate change is all some hoax cooked up by liberals. In the end though, their beliefs are irrelevant because they all result in the same thing: a planet that is inhabitable for humans.
Enter Greta Thunberg. The 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist has quickly emerged as a hero on the topic of climate change. She’s been traveling the world, talking to politicians and inspiring protests as she urges us all to take immediate action to preserve our world for future generations. Yesterday, she addressed the United Nations in a fiery speech which immediately went viral. She shamed those who would ignore climate change in favor of economic growth and warned of a pending “mass extinction.”
To any reasonable person, Thunberg’s activism is inspiring and a cause for hope. If young people can pressure our leaders into finally taking the needed actions, we might yet avert the worst of the disasters to come. Of course, the modern GOP is the furthest thing from reasonable and Republicans have unsurprisingly become obsessed with Thunberg in the worst way possible, constantly attacking both her and her message. Prominent Republican author and professional grifter Dinesh D’Souza went so far as to compare her to Nazi propaganda while Fox News host Laura Ingraham compared her to Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn.”
Now, the president himself has gotten in on the disturbing action. The 73-year-old Trump retweeted a clip of Thunberg earnestly talking about our dying ecosystems and the dire state of our world.
“I shouldn’t be up here, I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope, how dare you?” Thunberg says in the video, growing visibly upset as she accuses world leaders of stealing her “dreams and her childhood” through their cowardly inaction.
“She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a wonderful future. So nice to see!” Trump said, in a tweet dripping with sarcasm. Thunberg is clearly not “happy” in the clip, a fact which is apparent even to someone as infamously unempathetic as Donald Trump.
The bit about a “bright and wonderful future” is clearly a rejection of her message that the world is in danger and one can’t help but interpret him saying that her behavior is “nice to see” as him relishing Thunberg’s distress. The entire tweet is disgusting even by Trumpian standards and a reminder that our president is little more than a hateful internet troll.
She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see! https://t.co/1tQG6QcVKO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
At least one can take some solace in the thought that the time of men like Trump is coming to an end and Thunberg’s generation is already proving itself more than ready to tackle the world’s problems head-on. This child alone has more courage inside her than the entire GOP combined. If you need to wash the bad taste that the president’s tweet surely left in your mouth, just take a look at a viral clip of Thunberg glaring at the president as he passes her, embedded below. This girl has an iron spine.
UPDATE: Trump’s teen cyberbullying apparently left the teen unfazed. She added Trump’s comments to her Twitter profile:
Greta Thunberg glares at Trump as he passes her at UN pic.twitter.com/APx7L1VovX
— The Independent (@Independent) September 24, 2019
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.