be best
March 23, 2020

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, his office said Sunday evening, and that diagnosis sent Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) into self-quarantine, too. Paul is the first senator confirmed to have the new coronavirus, and President Trump sent him a get-well tweet on Sunday night.

Earlier Sunday evening, Trump apparently learned about Romney's self-quarantine from a reporter at a White House coronavirus briefing. When told that Romney is in quarantine, Trump said, "Gee, that's too bad." The reporters took that to be sarcasm, given Trump's long, well-documented antipathy toward Romney. Trump denied that he was being sarcastic; you can judge for yourself.

Romney, who is 73, has told reporters he is especially concerned about exposing his wife, who has multiple sclerosis, to the virus, which is especially deadly for older people and those with underlying health problems.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) criticized Paul's decision to use the Senate gym after he was tested for COVID-19 and before his positive result came back, but Democrats mostly stayed away from the GOP's coronavirus issues — and also, sensibly, each other. Peter Weber

December 13, 2019

Among President Trump's 100+ tweets and retweets on Thursday, one stood out. Time naming 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg its Person of the Year is "so ridiculous," he tweeted, adding with no apparent irony that "Greta must work on her Anger Management problem," advising: "Chill Greta, Chill!" Trump had some company in his mockery, The Washington Post notes, but "the rush among Trump allies to bash Thunberg marked a striking contrast to their professed outrage last week when Pamela Karlan, a Stanford University law professor, had invoked Barron Trump's name during her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearing."

Among those who slammed Karlan was first lady Melania Trump, whose signature project is her #BeBest anti-bullying campaign. Reporter David Nakamura asked the first lady and the other Republicans who prominently scolded Karlan what they thought about Trump's Thunberg tweet — and got total radio silence.

"Some conservatives have argued that because Thunberg, unlike Barron Trump, is a political activist, she is fair game for criticism from those whose policies she has campaigned against and whose moral values she has questioned," the Post reports, noting that "Trump has not engaged Thunberg on specific policy points but rather made personal attacks." She responded to the critique anyway.

Undeterred, Trump's campaign had one last trick to try and upstage Thunberg: They simply pasted Trump's head on Thunberg's body on the Time cover. Like "chill" adults do. Peter Weber

December 12, 2019

President Trump is once again mocking 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, this time accusing her of having an "anger management problem."

Thunberg on Wednesday morning was named Time's 2019 person of the year, prompting Trump to, nearly 24 hours later, lash out at the decision as "so ridiculous."

He also mocked Thunberg by saying she must "work on her anger management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!"

Trump himself was also one of Time's finalists, having been named person of the year in 2016 and suggesting since he deserves it again. Asked last year who should be the 2018 Time person of the year, Trump responded, "I can't imagine anybody else other than Trump, can you imagine anybody else other than Trump?" Time could.

This comes after Trump also mocked Thunberg, who has Asperger's syndrome, following her passionate United Nations speech in September, sarcastically writing, "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!" It also comes just over a week after first lady Melania Trump's criticism of an impeachment witness for mentioning 13-year-old Barron Trump's name during her testimony. "A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics," she wrote.

"Asperger's is difficult for teenagers through under any circumstance," The New York Times' Maggie Haberman observed. "Being mocked by the president of the US - whose allies get very angry about what gets said about some children - is its own category."

Following Trump's attack, Thunberg's Twitter bio now reads, "A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend." Brendan Morrow

September 25, 2019

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg isn't letting a 73-year-old man's mocking of her get in the way of what she's trying to accomplish.

The 16-year-old is taking in stride the sarcastic comment President Trump tweeted following her fiery speech Monday at the United Nations. Thunberg made it clear in her address that she is angry at world leaders for not doing enough to curb climate change. "People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing," she said. "We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth."

In response, Trump tweeted, "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!" Thunberg decided to run with it, and changed her Twitter bio on Tuesday to read, "A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future." That's how you troll the troll. Catherine Garcia

June 25, 2019

We have a new White House press secretary.

First lady Melania Trump on Tuesday announced that her communications director, Stephanie Grisham, will take over for Sarah Huckabee Sanders as the new White House press secretary. She'll be serving dual roles in the administration, as Trump also announced that Grisham will serve as the next White House communications director, too. This job had previously been vacant.

In a tweet, Trump said she is excited for Grisham to work "for both sides" of the White House.

Grisham had been seen as a top contender to replace Sanders, with Axios having previously reported that President Trump "has told people he likes her and trusts her." Axios also noted that Grisham, who served as an aide during Trump's 2016 run, is "one of a tiny number of campaign originals left in the White House." The New York Times describes Grisham as "loyal and sometimes combative," adding that she's "known for defending Mrs. Trump and the Trump family, and for her ability to keep the East Wing relatively free of leaks." And a former senior White House official described her to CBS as "the ultimate Trump loyalist." Brendan Morrow

April 8, 2019

President Trump is now comparing members of his administration to animated Disney characters, calling outgoing Secret Service Director Randolph Alles "Dumbo" because of his ears, two officials told The New York Times.

The White House announced Alles' departure on Monday. A retired Marine major general, Alles has been on Trump's hit list for awhile, the officials said, but he moved up a few places after a Chinese woman was arrested last month at Trump's private Florida club Mar-a-Lago after she was found carrying a thumb drive with malicious malware on it. The Secret Service pinned the incident on Mar-a-Lago staffers, saying they did not pay close enough attention to who was on the property.

The officials told the Times Alles was notified 10 days ago that he could craft his own exit plan, and was not given a hard date to leave. Several Secret Service officials said the Mar-a-Lago security breach likely contributed to Alles being pushed out so quickly. When he wasn't complaining about Alles' work, Trump was making pot shots at his appearance, officials told the Times, calling him Dumbo because of the size of his ears. Read more about the shake-up in the Department of Homeland Security at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

October 11, 2018

First Lady Melania Trump says she's uniquely qualified to lead a campaign against bullying, as almost nobody has endured more of it than her.

When asked in an interview with ABC News this week what inspired her to launch her anti-bullying initiative Be Best, the first lady pointed to her own experiences, saying, "I could say that I'm the most bullied person in the world." She subsequently changed her statement a bit to say that she's "one of" the most bullied, arguing this is obvious if "you really see what people are saying about me."

Trump launched the Be Best campaign in May 2018, and it's focused in part on fighting cyberbullying. In an August speech, she said that social media can be "destructive and harmful when used incorrectly" and that it's important to teach children "how to conduct themselves safely and in a positive manner in an online setting," per CNN. She received some pushback from critics who argued the president himself doesn't adhere to these principles on his Twitter account.

Watch a portion of the first lady's interview with ABC below. Brendan Morrow

See More Speed Reads