Donald Trump appears to have mocked Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg after her impassioned speech at the United Nations in New York urging world leaders to do more to combat climate change.
Earlier, the 16-year-old Ms Thunberg had scolded the audience at the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday, repeatedly asking, “How dare you?”
“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and yet all you can talk about is money. You are failing us,” she said.
In a tweet late on Monday (local time), the US President said of Ms Thunberg, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see! https://t.co/1tQG6QcVKO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
Mr Trump’s tweet also came after a short video of him walking past Ms Thunberg at the UN, and appearing to ignore her, had gone viral.
The video was quickly picked up by news outlets, and was shared on Twitter by actor George Takei.
The footage appeared to have been originally filmed by the Reuters news agency, which was following Mr Trump on his visit to New York.
Mr Trump, who was not scheduled to appear at the summit, dropped in for a few minutes before leaving to host a side event on religious freedom.
Captured by @Reuters Andrew Hofstetter: Activist @GretaThunberg watches Trump arrive at the #UNGA. Thunberg condemned world leaders for failing to take strong measures to combat climate change: ‘You have stolen my dreams’ https://t.co/e9VfO9KJFo pic.twitter.com/rTtzzu8jis
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) September 23, 2019
He had arrived in New York against a backdrop of swirling international tensions, including questions about his relationship with Ukraine, the uncertain future of Brexit, the US trade war with China, stalled nuclear negotiations with North Korea and a weakening global economy.
On Monday, the President met leaders of New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Singapore, Egypt and South Korea.
He will speak before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, with his administration’s desire for a collective response to escalating aggression by Iran high on the agenda.