Another member of the Trump team attacks teen activist Greta Thunberg

1931

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is the latest to mock Time's 17-year-old Person of the Year.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin became the latest Trump administration figure to attack climate activist Greta Thunberg on Thursday, dismissing her view on fossil fuel divestment as uneducated.

"Is she the chief economist or who is she? I’m confused," Mnuchin said of the 17-year-old Swede, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, before telling reporters that he was only joking.

"After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us," he added.

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Mnuchin also falsely claimed that Trump believes in "clear air and clean water," which the administration has repeatedly undermined.

Thunberg later appeared to respond to Mnuchin's jab, tweeting Thursday morning, "My gap year ends in August, but it doesn't take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up."

In recent months, Trump and his team have repeatedly attacked Thunberg, who was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2019, besting Trump for the honor.

Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., a frequent surrogate for and defender of his father, dismissed Thunberg's selection, tweeting in December, "Time leaves out the Hong Kong protesters fighting for their lives and freedoms to push a teen being used as a marketing gimmick. How dare you?"

"So ridiculous," the elder Trump said the magazine's choice. "Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!"

Thunberg humorously responded to the elder Trump's comments by changing her Twitter bio to describe herself as a "teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend."

First lady Melania Trump, who has denounced online bullying and criticized attempts to bring up 13-year-old son Barron in political discussion, received public criticism for not speaking out against the attacks. Asked about the first lady's silence, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham put out a statement suggesting that Thunberg was fair game for mockery because she is "an activist who travels the globe giving speeches."

Trump also used the Davos forum to attack Thunberg himself this week, calling her "very angry" while claiming not to know "anything about her" in a Wall Street Journal interview.

In public remarks on Wednesday, Trump explicitly noted, "she beat me out on Time magazine."

Trump's media allies have also gone after Thunberg in recent weeks.

Radio shock-jock Rush Limbaugh suggested Democrats believed Thunberg was "not well" because she is "in the autism spectrum" and were exploiting that for political gain.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham has also mocked Thunberg's autism, likening her to a villain from the 1984 horror film "Children of the Corn."

The network issued a rare public apology after Daily Wire podcast host Michael Knowles said in a Fox News appearance that Thunberg is a "mentally ill Swedish child."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.