Bernier walks back 'mentally unstable' attack on Greta Thunberg — then calls activist a 'pawn'
'Groups use this young woman as a pawn and as a shield to prevent any criticism of the message'
Maxime Bernier has taken to Twitter to explain a series of controversial tweets the People's Party of Canada leader made calling Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg "mentally unstable."
On September 2, Bernier posted a series of tweets in which he said Thunberg is "clearly mentally unstable. Not only autistic, but obsessive-compulsive, eating disorder, depression and lethargy and she lives in a constant state of fear."
Bernier went on to suggest that Thunberg's climate activism is spreading irrational fears about the environment to get the rest of the world "to feel the same."
4/ <a href="https://twitter.com/GretaThunberg?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GretaThunberg</a> is clearly mentally unstable. Not only autistic, but obsessive-compulsive, eating disorder, depression and lethargy, and she lives in a constant state of fear.<br><br>She wants us to feel the same: “I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I fear every day.”—@MaximeBernier
The former Conservative MP attacked Thunberg two days after she discussed her Asperger's syndrome, which she said means she is "sometimes a bit different from the norm."
"I'm not public about my diagnosis to 'hide' behind it, but because I know many ignorant people still see it as an 'illness', or something negative. And believe me, my diagnosis has limited me before," she said on her Instagram feed.
Thunberg went on to say that her climate activism has given her purpose and direction.
After widespread pushback against Bernier's remarks, the PPC leader took to Twitter today to claim that he did not mean to attack Thunberg personally, but wanted to show that she is being used as a "pawn" in the climate debate.
"My goal was absolutely not to denigrate her or whoever deals with these conditions," Bernier said on Twitter Wednesday. "On the contrary, she is a brave young woman who has been able to overcome her problems and deserves our admiration for that."
Bernier went on to say that "influential groups and the media" have chosen to make her a spokesperson for "climate alarmism."
3 / These groups use this young woman as a pawn and as a shield to prevent any criticism of the message. That's the real scandal.<br><br>I should have expressed this argument without referring directly to her personal situation.—@MaximeBernier
"These groups use this young woman as a pawn and as a shield to prevent any criticism of the message. That's the real scandal."
Thunberg did not respond to the initial set of tweets and has yet to respond to Bernier's latest tweets.