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White House on Greta Thunberg: Trump, first lady communicate differently

The White House on Friday issued a statement underlining the different ways Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMissouri pastor faces backlash after suggesting wives should lose weight, strive to look like Melania Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - FBI director testifies on Jan. 6 Capitol attack Overnight Health Care: Senate to vote on .9 trillion relief bill this week | J&J vaccine rollout begins | CDC warns against lifting restrictions MORE and President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE communicate in response to questions about why the first lady did not respond to her husband's ridiculing of 16-year-old Greta Thunberg after she was named Time's "Person of the Year."

Trump's tweet about Thunberg was widely criticized, and some saw hypocrisy in Trump criticizing the 16-year-old while he, the first lady and others ripped a college professor who at last week's impeachment hearing invoked their young son's name. Critics of the first lady pointed to her #BeBest anti-bullying initiative. 

"BeBest is the First Lady’s initiative, and she will continue to use it to do all she can to help children," press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamMelania Trump says she was 'disappointed and disheartened' watching Capitol riots Trump resignations gaining steam GOP senators urging Trump officials to not resign after Capitol chaos MORE said in a statement to CNN.

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She also drew a contrast between the couple's 13-year-old son and Thunberg.

"It is no secret that the President and First Lady often communicate differently — as most married couples do. Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy," added Grisham, who serves as a spokeswoman for both the president and first lady.

In his tweet, Trump mocked the teenage climate activist who has attended international conferences and earned a global following.

"Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!" Trump tweeted.

The tweet drew criticism from Republicans, Democrats and political commentators who noted Thunberg has been open about having Asperger's syndrome, a social disorder that affects social and communication skills.

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Neither the White House nor the first lady has said anything about the president's tweet as of late Friday afternoon. 

Stanford professor Pamela Karlan apologized for telling lawmakers that the Constitution does not grant lawmakers the power to bestow nobility, after she joked that Trump could name his son Barron but could not make him a baron.

"A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics," the first lady tweeted in response. "Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it."

The first lady has periodically faced pressure to speak up about remarks from the president, particularly given her Be Best initiative. She has repeatedly said she will remain committed to the anti-bullying cause despite any criticisms or accusations of hypocrisy.