First lady and anti-bullying advocate Melania Trump apparently thinks it’s fine for her husband, the leader of the free world, to bully 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg. When asked by reporters how she squares her anti-bullying initiative Be Best with President Donald Trump’s tweet telling the teen to “work on her Anger Management problem,” the first lady seemed unbothered by her husband’s behavior.
“Be Best is the First Lady’s initiative, and she will continue 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,” read a statement issued from the White House to CNN reporter Kate Bennett. “Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy.”
The timing of the statement is conspicuous, given how Melania just issued a public statement condemning impeachment witness Pamela Karlan for invoking Trump’s 13-year-old son Barron Trump’s name while making a point about the limitations of presidential power. “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 tweeted.
It would be one thing if Trump were simply criticizing Thunberg on the merits of her arguments: she is a public figure, after all. But she’s also a child, and Trump is one of the most powerful men in the world. When he tweeted about her, he made it personal. The first lady can split hairs all she wants, but it’s clear that the only child she wants to protect from bullying is her own.