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Melania Trump Defends Her Husband’s Cyber-Bullying of Greta Thunberg


Close up of Melania Trump's face.

Last week, Donald Trump lashed out at teen climate activist and TIME Magazine Person of the Year Greta Thunberg on Twitter (again). People immediately began to take Melania Trump’s silence on the matter as tacit support for her husband’s bullying. But just in case anyone wasn’t sure, she’s now released a statement (via her and her husband’s shared press secretary) offering him explicit support.

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We can’t hold a woman responsible for her husband’s behavior but in this case, looping Melania in on the conversation is entirely relevant since 1) her “BeBest” anti-cyber-bullying campaign is her whole thing and 2) she recently tweeted sharp criticism at Professor Pamela Karlan, who made some mild wordplay involving Barron Trump’s name during her impeachment testimony.

So Melania’s issue isn’t so much that “a minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics,” but that her son does and should. And because Thunberg is “an activist who travels the globe giving speeches,” she’s fair game not just for regular criticism, but public mockery and bullying from adults, including world leaders.

Melania seems to be arguing that because Thunberg is a public figure, she’s choosing to open herself up to all forms of attacks, no matter her age or the fact that she’s specifically said she doesn’t want the attention or celebrity that’s come from pursuing a singular, serious cause–one that she doesn’t even see as being political in the first place.

Melania’s BeBest campaign is supposed to be about helping children. But she has remained silent on the treatment of immigrant and refugee children at the southern border–including a teen boy who was denied medical care and died in ICE custody–and now she’s directly supporting Donald Trump’s petty attacks on Thunberg.

In the end, it really seems like BeBest is only designed to help one specific child.

(image: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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