It may have taken almost 24 hours, but to the surprise of no one Donald Trump has made his feelings known about Greta Thunberg’s appointment as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.
Trump – who has been prone to a tantrum or two over the years after the annual announcement – described Thunberg’s recognition as “so ridiculous” on Twitter.
Apparently unprompted, the president retweeted a congratulatory message written by author Roma Downey, and launched into an attack on her “Anger Management problem”.
He wrote: “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend!
“Chill Greta, Chill!”
Sixteen-year-old Thunberg began taking action on climate change by skipping school and embarking on a solo protest outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018.
In the months since, she has come to symbolise a global movement – led by young people – demanding radical action to address the climate emergency.
It’s not the first time Thunberg has been targeted by the US president online – back in December he sarcastically described her as a “a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future” – but thankfully she’s not shy about responding in her own understated way.
Just minutes after Trump’s tweet, the teenage activist had changed her Twitter bio to “a teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
Receiving the title is by no means a measure of positive impact – something the magazine makes very clear on its website, stating that it is awarded to “the person or group of people who had the greatest influence on the events of the year—for better or worse.”
Previous winners have included widely celebrated figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. (1963) and the Apollo 8 astronauts (1968) but also the computer (1982), the endangered earth (1988), and Adolf Hitler (1938).
Trump has received the award in the past, winning the accolade in 2016 a month after being elected president – but that doesn’t seem to have quenched his obsession with the title.
In 2012, he tweeted that the magazine had “lost all credibility” for failing to include him in their top 100, and in 2015 expressed disappointment that despite being the “big favourite”, Angela Merkel (“ruining Germany”, apparently) had been selected.
When his time came in 2016 he called it a “great honour” – but it didn’t end there.
Just a year later he was back to his old tricks, claiming that Time Magazine had called to tell him he was “probably” going to be named Person of the Year again, but he “took a pass”.
His claim was debunked pretty hastily by the magazine itself, with then-chief content editor Alan Murray stating that there was “not a speck of truth” in his allegations.
Perhaps in a bid to make the leader of the free world not making the front cover of a magazine, a verified Twitter account run by his campaign team took matters into their own hands and photoshopped the head of Trump – a 73-year-old man – onto Thunberg’s cover.
With the recent news that the Democrats would be bringing two articles of impeachment against Trump, perhaps its no surprise that the president wasn’t exactly first in line for this year’s accolade.