Meeting President Trump Would be a 'Waste of Time,' Teen Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Says in 'Ellen' Interview

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg dismissed the idea of meeting President Donald Trump during her appearance on the Ellen show for an interview that aired Friday.

"I don't understand why I would do that," Thunberg said when Ellen asked the 16-year-old if she would sit down with Trump to discuss climate change. "I don't see what I could tell him that he hasn't already heard, and I just think it would be a waste of time, really," she said.

Thunberg's interview with Ellen took place before the activist's appearance at a Los Angeles strike Friday, where demonstrators were expected to call for California to phase out fossil fuel production. Thunberg also said she was surprised her activism, which started last year after she began taking Fridays off school to protest for faster climate action, had blossomed into a global movement.

"I would never have expected that something like that would happen," Thunberg told Ellen. "I just thought I need to do whatever I can do, and it's obviously not going to be enough, but at least it's something. I needed to, just for myself, make sure that I did whatever I could, so I could look myself in the eye in this crisis."

Thunberg's movement, Fridays for Future, has expanded rapidly, and Thunberg has emerged as a leading figure pushing for a bolder response to climate change.

She brought her blunt evaluation of the climate crisis to the U.S. in September ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, where she rebuked U.S. officials and world leaders. After Thunberg gave an impassioned speech challenging world leaders at the United Nations, Trump appeared to mock the activist on Twitter, writing "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!"

Thunberg quietly acknowledged Trump's comment by temporarily changing her Twitter biography to include the president's remarks. Her activism has continued, and she has since appeared at rallies in Iowa City and Denver.

While continuing to stage rallies, Thunberg has emphasized that she wants politicians to listen to scientists and urged elected officials to implement research-based policies that address climate change. On Tuesday, she declined to accept an award from the Nordic Council, a regional inter-parliamentary organization.

"The climate movement does not need any more awards," she said on Instagram. "What we need is for our politicians and the people in power [to] start to listen to the current, best available science."

Thunberg
Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg speaks at the Fridays For Future Denver Climate Strike on October 11 at Civic Center Park in Denver, Colorado. Marc Piscotty/Getty Images