Trump Attacks A Teenage Girl

Donald Trump proves once again that there are no boundaries he won't cross.

In the middle of a morning tweetstorm that covered a wide variety of topics, President Trump decided it was a good idea to lash out at 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg:

Two things have long obsessed President Trump: Time’s person of the year and the 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg.

This week they collided when Time picked her for its annual cover. It was never in doubt that the president would tweet about it. The only question was when.

Early Thursday, the answer arrived.

“So ridiculous,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Greta must work on her anger management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”

Ms. Thunberg was quick to respond.

“A teenager working on her anger management problem,” read a new version of her Twitter biography. “Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”

People on Twitter quickly weighed in on Mr. Trump’s remarks.

“Nothing like going after a young girl with Asperger Syndrome to drive home the point that you are fit for office,” Holly Figueroa O’Reilly, an op-ed writer for The Washington Post and The Guardian, said on Twitter. (Ms. Thunberg has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, and has called it “a superpower.”)

Others on Twitter zeroed in on Melania Trump’s tweet from earlier this month in which she said a minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics after her son, Barron Trump, was mentioned in the impeachment hearings by Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford law professor.

“Did you tell your horrible husband to leave @GretaThunberg alone?” the actress Yvette Nicole Brown asked the first lady on Twitter. “Maybe he’ll listen to you,” she added, using the trending hashtag “BeBest,” a nod to Ms. Trump’s child-focused platform dedicated to kindness and well being.

Thursday’s exchange was not the first tangle between Mr. Trump, whose administration has attacked climate science and rolled back environmental regulations, and Ms. Thunberg, who was in Madrid for the United Nations climate conference this week.

After she delivered a pointed speech at the United Nations in September, the young activist became a lightning rod for criticism. Mr. Trump tweeted a clip of her speech with the seemingly sarcastic message: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

That time, Ms. Thunberg also changed her Twitter biography, describing herself as “a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”

She has also faced attacks from others on the right. Fox News apologized in September after a pundit called Ms. Thunberg “a mentally ill Swedish child” on one of its programs.

Here’s Trump’s tweet:

Within an hour after that Tweet was posted, Thunberg had changed her Twitter biography:

I’ll say this much, the kid has a sense of humor.

As for the President, well, this is an unsurprising move. This is an unsurprising move, sadly. Donald Trump is a man with a long history of attacking people, including Mexicans, Muslimsdisabled people, a Federal District Court Judge who happened to be Mexican-American and a Gold Star Family who happened to be Muslim. He attacked John McCain’s military service thus beginning a feud that has continued, and become even more juvenile on the President’s part, even after McCain died. He also attacked women like Megyn KellyCarly Fiorina, and Heidi Cruz in the crassest and most demeaning manner. In the month before the election, he was caught on tape bragging about an apparent sexual assault and conquest and was later accused of sexual harassment and assault by nearly two dozen women. The fact that he’d move on next to a teenager who had never criticized him by name is really just par for the course.

As for why he’d do this, the most likely explanation is the fact that he is a man currently obsessed with his real and perceived enemies and by the ongoing impeachment debate. Additionally, he’s long been obsessed with Time’s Person of the Year designation, which he actually won in 2016 after being elected President. In that respect, the news that he was under consideration for the distinction again but lost out to Thunberg mostly likely got under his notoriously thin skin.

Although this attack will resonate well with Trump’s supporters and others, one suspects that it will, in the end, just serve to enhance Thunberg’s profile. Meanwhile, Trump will continue to be the vile creep that he’s always been.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, says “class” like deriding a teenager with Asperger’s and OCD.

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  2. Mikey says:

    As I said on the other thread, the right-wing twits all threw a shit-fit when a professor made a lame and harmless pun that included Barron Trump’s name, but they’re all fine with Trump and his supporters vomiting out the vilest attacks on a 16-year-old girl. Yesterday someone put up a meme with her Time POTY cover next to the one they did of Hitler in 1938, apparently in an attempt to draw some parallel between the two. So that’s OK, but simply mentioning Barron’s name is an unforgivable attack on a child. It’s ludicrous.

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  3. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    She did the same thing with her Twitter bio when Bolsonaro attacked her. She is more adult than both Presidents.

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  4. Stormy Dragon says:

    Trump’s response is ridiculous because it’s ridiculous for anyone who’s older than four to respond that way to anyone.

    That said, I don’t think Greta Thornburg deserves special consideration based on her age or condition. There seems to be an attempt something akin to a “heckler’s veto” here, where if a teenager is acting as a political activist, no one is allowed to disagree with them. In Thornberg’s case, I agree with her goal, but if this norm because fully established, other groups will use it too (e.g. anti-abortion groups getting teenagers to go on Fox about they importance of “protecting all life” and then characterizing pro-choice advocates as attacking teenage girls).

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  5. MarkedMan says:

    The Republican leadership today is composed
    of moral degenerates and imbeciles. Trump, as befitting the head of the party, perfectly incorporates both factions.

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  6. Teve says:

    There are over 8000 comments about Greta at Breitbart right now.

    In one of the threads I have learned: Global warming is not real, Greta is ugly, Al Gore, scientists said there was a hole in the ozone layer and they were wrong about that too, weather changes all the time, dark energy is also a science lie, and god caused the Big Bang.

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  7. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, says “class” like deriding a teenager with Asperger’s and OCD.

    In this case, Trump is far outclassed by Ms. Thunberg

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  8. drj says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I agree. Thunberg inserted herself into the public conversation, so she shouldn’t be immune from criticism.

    But it should also be noted that “Greta is ugly and angry” is not really a useful refutation of her argument that we should listen to climate scientists.

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  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I really don’t think anyone is surprised that Trump is a pathetic little whiny ass bitch.

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  10. Stormy Dragon says:
  11. Stormy Dragon says:

    @drj:

    But it should also be noted that “Greta is ugly and angry” is not really a useful refutation of her argument that we should listen to climate scientists.

    Agreed, but I would think “Chuck Schumer is ugly and angry” is not really a useful really a useful refutation of an argument as well. It’s a ridiculous response regardless of target. Greta being 16 doesn’t make it any worse, in my opinion.

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I comfort myself with the knowledge that god hates us all equally.

    @Kathy: Ms. Thunberg is an adult, trump is pissypantsed 3 yr old.

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  13. Bill says:

    Trump is a disgusting @#%! His conduct here however is fairly mild but still not presidential.

    Don’t worry, I have headline of the day material ready for tomorrow. One of which may be sports headline of the year material.

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  14. drj says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Greta being 16 doesn’t make it any worse, in my opinion.

    I think it does. I would say that it is reasonable to expect that the Senate Minority Leader should have a thicker skin than a teenager.

    Insulting the powerful (warranted or not) is different than insulting those without or with little power. And age – especially if we’re talking about minors – is pretty much always a factor in that equation.

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  15. CSK says:

    Where’s the lovely Melania in all this? Wasn’t she in a snit because someone took Barron’s name in vain?

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  16. Teve says:

    @Bill: Platinum members of OtB get early access to Open Threads and a browser plugin that converts posts by JKB and Guarneri into Shel Silverstein poems.

  17. Bruce Henry says:
  18. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    About that, I’ve considered feeding the trolls snippets of my favorite Spanish love songs. I’m guessing they may be allergic:

    Como una promesa, eres tú, eres tú.
    Como una mañana de verano.
    Como una sonrisa, eres tú, eres tú.
    Así, así, eres tú.

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  19. Paul L. says:

    Nick Sandmann.

    BTW, It was right for Barron Trump to be attacked and criticized for his advocacy for allowing and supporting titles of nobility in the US.

    Handwave as WhatAboutism.

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  20. Kathy says:

    @Paul L.:

    Quien te cantará, con esta guitarra?
    Quien la hará sonar, cuando no esté yo?

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  21. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK:

    Where’s the lovely Melania in all this? Wasn’t she in a snit because someone took Barron’s name in vain?

    Isn’t she also supposed to have some sort of anti-bullying thing going?

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  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    Trump certainly has a right to attack a teen-aged girl. But if he were a man he’d refrain.

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  23. CSK says:

    @Paul L.: This is silly. Barron’s father named him Barron, after a pseudonym–John Barron–Trump himself used to promote himself to the tabloids.

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  24. Kari Q says:

    Nothing says “strong man and tough leader” like attacking a 16 year old girl.

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  25. Nickel Front says:

    @CSK:

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, says “class” like deriding a teenager with Asperger’s and OCD.

    Except maybe that kid’s parents thrusting her into the spotlight knowing how fragile she is.

    Greta is both the strongest woman on the planet and a such a weak, fragile flower that no one may dare criticize her.

    If she’s going to offered up as a political martyr she’s needs to accept all that the spotlight brings.

    Also, 16 year olds should be able to vote.

    Honestly tho, her response is pretty damn funny and actually shows she can handle it pretty well.

    Besides, it’s not like she’s some innocent kid hanging out on the national mall and the entire left wing of the media attacked her for smiling at an old man.

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  26. wr says:

    @Paul L.: “BTW, It was right for Barron Trump to be attacked and criticized for his advocacy for allowing and supporting titles of nobility in the US.”

    See you’re not doing any better on that whole reading comprehension thing.

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  27. Andrew says:

    Baron Barron Trump
    Baron Barron Trump
    Baron Barron Trump Barron Trump

    No. actual attack on Baron Trump Baron Trump .
    Greta is okay to go after.

    Hey, Trump boot lickers!! Does a smart woman actually intimidate you that much?

    Baron Trump
    Baron Trump
    Baron Trump

    Or is it just because she makes Trump look like a little b!tch and the weirdest orange color snowflake.

    Baron Barron Trump
    Baron Barron Trump
    Baron Barron Trump Barron Trump

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  28. Tyrell says:

    It is unfortunate that this young lady is being used by opportunists and politicians who have an agenda.They get her to do the heavy lifting and catch all the flak. When they are through with her, they will cast her off like some aged, washed up Hollywood star.

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  29. Kathy says:

    @Tyrell:

    Ay, si un día para mi mal
    Viene a buscarme la parca
    Empujad al mar mi barca
    Con un levante otoñal
    Y dejad que el temporal
    Desguace sus alas blancas
    Y a mí enterradme sin duelo
    Entre la playa y el cielo

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  30. Lynn says:

    @Kathy:

    got one for trump, about un viejo verde?

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:
    No the shame is ancient, narrow minded ignoramuses assuming this young woman has no agency. Let’s be clear Tyrell, she’s smarter and better informed than you.

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  32. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Come now. A rebellious teenager making adults uncomfortable is unprecedented in the annals of human history and prehistory. Who would have suspected such a thing was possible?

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  33. David M says:

    @Kathy:

    I’ve considered feeding the trolls snippets of my favorite Spanish love songs.

    Me gusta, jajaja

  34. Hal_10000 says:

    I don’t have an issue with Thurberg herself. I do have an issue with the bit of a cult that has been built around her and how some of the adults around her are acting. But she’s fine.

    TBH, the Thurnberg jibe was the least of Trump’s twitter issues today. He tweeted dozens of times, each more deranged than the last. It’s going to get worse. And if he’s re-elected, it may get really really really bad.

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  35. Kathy says:

    @David M:

    There’s this group from Spain, Mocedades, which was very popular between the late 70s and early 80s. They’re touring now, and there have been radio ads all day long. that got me thinking about them, and recalling their songs, which I like.

    they give me a rather pleasant ear-worm, so I thought I’d put it to some use.

    The first two were Mocedades’ “Eres Tú” and “Quien te cantará?” the third is by a Catalan singer called Joan Manuel Serrat, called “Mediterráneo.”

  36. Frank Furillo says:

    She’s a useless, village idiot and should be mocked. 16 or not. You pretend to be an adult, get treated as an adult. And get mocked for your overt, self-broadcasted stupidity.

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  37. Andrew says:

    I finally get it.
    Donald J Trump really wishes he was a teenage girl underneath it all.

    The tanning, the obsession with gold, the pettiness, the gossip he hears, extremely self conscious. And doesn’t like other women. He’s a Mean Girl.

    Trump says he’s having a ‘very busy day’ after tweeting over 90 times before noon
    https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-very-busy-day-after-tweeting-over-90-times-2019-12

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  38. Frank Furillo says:

    @CSK: Nothing says “class” more than your admiration of the parents of a virtual village idiot who should be pitied instead of hoisted up as an environmental piñata to be appropriately slogged, tarred and feathered.

  39. Frank Furillo says:

    @drj: Greta can’t do it for herself, of course. But her parents are the classless one who put up their mentally decrepit child for ridicule.

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  40. Kathy says:

    @Nickel Front:

    Era un hombre como cualquiera
    Ignorado, desorientado, contaminado
    Como cualquiera
    Aburrido, desconocido
    Y poco atrevido
    Donde lo hubiera

    Y dicen que creció de tal modo
    Que llegó a alcanzar las estrellas
    Que se sonrió con razón
    Como lo hacen los bobos sin ella.

    Uno de mi calle me ha dicho
    Que tiene un amigo que dice,
    Conocer a un tipo
    Que un día fue feliz.

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  41. Nickel Front says:

    Greta doesn’t make adults uncomfortable. That Narrative sailed months ago.

    I do, however, have an example of a child that really does make adults uncomfortable:
    Mitt Romney’s black grandchild

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  42. Frank Furillo says:

    @Andrew: Idiot. Barron was thrust into it without provocation. Greta put herself into a position to be chastised for her natural born mental deficiencies that was no fault of her own. Her parents are simply looking to get rich on the mutation.

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  43. Mister Bluster says:

    @Nickel Front:..I do, however, have an example of a child that really does make adults uncomfortable: Mitt Romney’s black grandchild.

    Speak for yourself Hambone.

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  44. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Andrew:

    I finally get it.
    Donald J Trump really wishes he was a teenage girl underneath it all.

    So basically you’re saying the solution to all of our problems is to get someone to do this to Donald Trump?

  45. Jax says:

    @Nickel Front: Do you ever wonder if you’re outing your inner racism with comments like that? I honestly don’t know any single person here besides you, Paul, JKB, Tyrell and the Ukraine fanatic that might be bothered by the fact that Mitt Romney has a black grandchild. Maybe the Republican party as a whole….but that’s your deal, not ours.

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  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Paul L.: Seeing as Barron was never attacked or criticized for anything at all, do you have a point?

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  47. I have to disagree with any notion that Trump’s attack on Greta makes Barron Trump “fair game.” Though still a minor, she has inserted herself into a high-profile public policy debate and is as much eligible to be challenged on her assertions as any adult would be. That being said, Trump’s attacks on her, of course, do not fall within the “fair game” rule any more than his attacks on adult women such as Megyn Kelly, Mika Brezinski, Carly Fiorina, or Heidi Cruz did.

    Barron Trump, on the other hand, has not become a public actor, unlike his other adult siblings other thanTiffany. He is additionally just 13 years old and basically just going to school. His mother does the best she can to keep him out of the press and I understand with her instinct to protect him. (Trump, by contrast, barely ever even mentions his name, but that’s another story.)

    There is no equivalence.

    So, we can condemn Trump for this attack on Greta, as well as the previous one, but we shouldn’t take thatas free reign to attack his son or drag him into public policy debates in which he plays no role.

  48. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Kathy: Dammit! Now that’s my latest earworm.

  49. An Interested Party says:

    Greta put herself into a position to be chastised for her natural born mental deficiencies…

    Exactly what “mental deficiencies” does she have?

    So, we can condemn Trump for this attack on Greta, as well as the previous one, but we shouldn’t take thatas free reign to attack his son or drag him into public policy debates in which he plays no role.

    Who is taking a free reign to attack Trump’s youngest child? His name was mentioned in a bad pun, but no one is attacking him…as someone upthread noted, I guess Barron’s name, much like God’s, can’t be spoken in vain…

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  50. al Ameda says:

    @Frank Furillo:

    She’s a useless, village idiot and should be mocked. 16 or not. You pretend to be an adult, get treated as an adult. And get mocked for your overt, self-broadcasted stupidity.

    So, you’re not posting as ‘David Dennison’ any more.

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  51. Kathy says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    But it’s a lovely ear-worm.

  52. Mikey says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I agree the use of Barron’s name in a rather lame pun was not a good thing, although it was very far from an “attack.” But my point is that Trump supporters acted like it was the worst! thing! EVAR! while not only excusing, but perpetuating, the vilest attacks on a girl not much older than he.

    To the extent there’s anything debatable about climate change, or Thunberg’s approach to spreading the word, then debate those things. Equating a teenage girl with a valid cause to Hitler, who started a war that killed tens of millions while engaging in a genocide, is inexcusable.

  53. rachel says:

    Equating a teenage girl with a valid cause to Hitler, who started a war that killed tens of millions while engaging in a genocide, is inexcusable.

    And dumb.

  54. KM says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    It’s true it’s not quite apples and oranges. However, the entire premise of the right’s “defense” of Barron is “he’s a kid, leave him alone” not “he’s not an active public figure and so should be considered off-limits”. I agree with you that picking on a kid – any kid – is bad form for a normal adult to do. Greta should be eligible for critique of her activism because of her choices, not ad hominems meant to belittle her as a minor, female or neuro-atypical.

    The right is being blatantly hypocritical by their own logic and should be held accountable for it. Don’t want Barron picked on because he’s a kid minding his own business and goes out of his way to avoid the limelight? Fine – that makes sense and it’s respecting his wishes to boot. Don’t want Barron picked on because he’s Melania’s precious widdle babe and how dare you breathe his name, you peasant, he’s a child?! That dog don’t hunt if you’re out picking on someone else’s precious widdle babe. The right is being incredibly vile in regards to this young woman so calling them out on their BS is a moral imperative. They cannot demand we hold standard and use another – we have no obligation to indulge their nastiness.

    You know what would #BeBest? Barron himself publicly asking for everyone to back off Greta and him and respect their youth. A classy touch that would carry the Trump name’s weight with MAGAts and appease the left riled at the incivility of it all. A quick tweet would go a long way to earning good will and building some bridges…..

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  55. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    His mother does the best she can to keep him out of the press and I understand with her instinct to protect him. (Trump, by contrast, barely ever even mentions his name, but that’s another story.)

    If Trump did mention him, it would have the effect of dragging Barron into the public eye. One of the only times he was in the public eye — election night — people were speculating that he looked autistic, etc., so the never mentioning him in public might just be protecting him.

    I want to assume the worst about Trump, but from the outside disinterested parenting and carefully protecting his kid would look the same.

  56. Andrew says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I wish.
    It’s too late now. No one took him to prom. No one thought he was the smartest, or prettiest. He never had a high school sweetheart. And he’s just got the anger, bitterness, and hatred. He’s got his Sugar Daddy now, though. Big Daddy Putin. His strong protector. Who tells and gives Donald nice things. Well, apparently knows how to treat the ladies. 😉

    What’s the old saying?
    “ Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. ”

  57. Frank Furillo says:

    @KM: Trying to appease the left us akin to trying to appease Muslims. They want you dead just as the left wants the right and the middle dead. Appeasing an enemy never works. Guess some have not learned from history, accentuated by Chamberlain. And the mentally deficient need not be used as insulated spokespersons for the lunatic fringe left wingers.

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  58. Jax says:

    @Frank Furillo: Excuse me, you’re projecting, here. I don’t personally know any Democrats who want people like you dead…..I mean, if we had the option of launching ourselves to a different planet and let you guys go ahead and kill yourselves on this one, a lot of us would take it, but it’s rarely the Left threatening violence or civil war if something doesn’t go our way.

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  59. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Frank Furillo:
    Oh good, a new victim.

    Trying to appease the left us akin to trying to appease Muslims.

    Provide any evidence you have that any part of this statement is true. Note: we take facts here, not whatever bullshit you heard on Tucker.

    They want you dead just as the left wants the right and the middle dead.

    Yes, that’s why we keep trying to give you health insurance, get guns out of the wrong hands and regulate workplace safety, because we’re trying to kill you.

    Appeasing an enemy never works. Guess some have not learned from history, accentuated by Chamberlain.

    Nonsense. The fact is that appeasement often works. Finland has appeased Russia, for example. And dude: 1) WW2 was not the only war in history and 2) Before you decide to reference that or any war, learn something more than Chamberlain bad, Churchill good.

    And the mentally deficient need not be used as insulated spokespersons for the lunatic fringe left wingers.

    Correct. The mentally deficient are on your side. As you’ve just demonstrated.

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  60. DrDaveT says:

    @Frank Furillo:

    And get mocked for your overt, self-broadcasted stupidity.

    The irony in this comment has overwhelmed my internet connection.

  61. Gustopher says:

    @Frank Furillo:

    Trying to appease the left us akin to trying to appease Muslims. They want you dead just as the left wants the right and the middle dead.

    That’s not true. We want to put you in FEMA re-education camps run out of abandoned Wal-Marts.

    Even the Muslims don’t want you dead. Well, the general you, not the specific you. Each and every Muslim did issue at Fatwa on your specific head, so your best hope of survival is the FEMA re-education camp. After the gender reassignment surgery and then being forced to marry a dog, they won’t be able to find you.

    I guess the only question is whether you will hold the dog’s leash or whether she will hold yours? I suspect you will not be the alpha, but families organize in their own ways.

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  62. JohnMcC says:

    @Frank Furillo: When you have the stones to sail a small sailboat across the frigging Atlantic Ocean singlehanded, get back to us.

  63. Gustopher says:

    @KM:

    You know what would #BeBest? Barron himself publicly asking for everyone to back off Greta and him and respect their youth. A classy touch that would carry the Trump name’s weight with MAGAts and appease the left riled at the incivility of it all.

    Barron really has no obligation to do so, and no need to enter the public sphere — he can if he wants to, but I suspect all it would do is make him a target for abuse*.

    Perhaps the adults in the room — like Donald J. Trump, his putative father — could behave better. Or Melania. But it is not a 13 year old’s responsibility to provide a better public example than his father.

    *: There are a few people on the left who will think “well Greta Thunberg got rape threats, so fair is fair…” They’re idiots, but they exist. More of that on the right these days as “triggering the libs” seems to be the main policy goal.

  64. Mikey says:

    @rachel: Well, considering the source, I figured “dumb” was a given.

  65. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    Nice. Very nice.

  66. Marie says:

    @Teve: What? That was run on sentence that confused everyone.

  67. Bob Jones says:

    @Kathy:

    i think, i THINK, it might have been a sarcastic comment, but im not 100% sure