Louise Linton, the wife of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, deleted a post on Instagram on Saturday in which she had expressed support for the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has been publicly sparring with Mnuchin over whether the U.S. should divest from fossil fuels.
Mnuchin had dismissed the Swedish activist's call for the U.S. to divest from the sector on Thursday, saying that the 17-year-old should study economics in college, and then "she can come back and explain that to us."
Thunberg had called for the divestment at the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Her address followed the hottest year on record for the world's oceans, and the second hottest year on record for global average temperatures.
Linton wrote in her post, which tagged both Thunberg and Mnuchin, that she was sympathetic to Thunberg.
"I stand with Greta on this issue," wrote Linton, an actress and animal rights activist, in the since-deleted post. Linton wrote that she didn't have a degree in economics either.
"We need to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels. Keep up the fight @gretathunberg," Linton wrote.
Thunberg herself responded to Mnuchin on Thursday. In a series of post on Twitter, she wrote that "it doesn't take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don't add up."
"So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments," she wrote.
Linton did not provide an explanation for deleting her Instagram post.