DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – Just when the Swiss mountain spat between President Donald Trump and Greta Thunberg seemed to have blown over, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin took a new dig at the young climate activist on Thursday.
Asked during a news conference about Thunberg’s call to divest from fossil fuels, Mnuchin said: “Is she the chief economist? … After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us.”
Mnuchin’s quip came two days after Trump and Thunberg sparred indirectly at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos. After Trump said the United States had committed to joining the one trillion tree initiative, Thunberg retorted that fixing the climate crisis was not only about trees.
Before he left Davos, however, Trump seemed to extend an olive branch, saying he wished he had seen Thunberg speak.
Addressing the Trump administration’s stance on climate, Mnuchin said the U.S. position had been “misunderstood.”
“There is a real misinterpretation of the U.S. policy. Let me be very clear: President Trump absolutely believes in clean air and clean water and having a clean environment.”
Before Steve Mnuchin sent Greta Thunberg back to school
Earlier this month, a Facebook glitch revealed that Thunberg’s Facebook page is run by accounts belonging to her father, actor Svante Thunberg, and Adarsh Prathap, an Indian delegate at the U.N. climate change organization.
The revelation played into longstanding allegations that Greta Thunberg’s international celebrity has been stage-managed by her family and climate consultants. The Thunbergs have denied the claims.
A Facebook user purporting to be Thunberg sought to respond to critics in a post to her page, which has nearly 3 million followers. While public figures regularly employ social media managers to communicate in their voice, Thunberg claimed she really was behind all her posts. She said she just prefers to use her dad’s account.
“Some people have been asking who manages this page. First of all, since last spring I only use Facebook to repost what I write on my Twitter and Instagram accounts,” she said. “Since I have chosen not to be on Facebook personally (I tried early on but decided it wasn’t for me) I use my father Svantes account to repost content, because you need an account to moderate a Facebook page.”
Thunberg added that Prathap helps with the reposting.
“All texts posted on my Facebook page has of course been written by me, just like everything else,” she said.
(Reporting by Alessandra Galloni and Balazs Koranyi; editing by Alexander Smith; Pluralist contributed to this report)