Trump Slams NYT For Critical Article On US Stance on Breastfeeding

Trump administration threatened Ecuador over its support of breastfeeding resolution

The World Health Assembly at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva.

The New York Times said the USA was "embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers" and even threatened Ecuador and other countries with financial retaliation.

"The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breastfeeding must be called out".

The New York Times reports USA delegates even threatened the Ecuadorean government with punishing trade measures, convincing them to drop the resolution.

The resolution "was pretty straightforward, it wasn't a real policy reach", Elizabeth Zehner, the director for Helen Keller International's Assessment & Research on Child Feeding project, told NPR in an interview.

A World Health Organization meet which was expected to pass smoothly a resolution to support breast-feeding, turned nasty when the USA attempted to block it.

"We were shocked because we didn't understand how such a small matter like breast-feeding could provoke such a dramatic response", said the Ecuadorean official, speaking with a requirement of anonymity. But the US insisted on removing language calling on the World Health Organization to offer technical support to officials trying to stop "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children", according to the Times. Though the US was able to get Ecuador to drop the resolution, delegates from Russian Federation later introduced it with only minor concessions made to the USA delegation's position. The resolution ended up passing, though the US did succeed in getting the language altered slightly. Ecuador backed down, and at least a dozen countries avoided the resolution out of fear of retaliation by the United States.

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Such chaos is unusual at this type of meeting, according to Zehner.

Trump has reportedly demonstrated his disgust for breastfeeding-or even the specter of breastfeeding-before: A lawyer said Trump had an "absolute meltdown" when she requested a break to pump breast milk and called her disgusting.

Breastfeeding has always been touted as the preferred source of food for infants, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreeing that babies who are breastfed have reduced risks of asthma, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, ear and respiratory infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

NPR could not independently confirm that the USA threatened Ecuador or any other country over this resolution.

Trump hit out at the Times article, while saying the United States was committed to ensuring women are not "denied" formula. The Ecuadorian delegates acquiesced, and health advocates struggled to find another sponsor for the resolution. However, a spokesperson did indicate that the USA had differences of opinion with other countries about the original text.

Sterken says she was encouraged by how strongly many countries resisted the US bid, and she praised Canada for doing its part to champion breastfeeding initiatives. "The United States was fighting to protect women's abilities to make the best choices for the nutrition of their babies".

"The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children", an HHS spokesman said in an email. Since the 1980s, governments, non-governmental organizations, and corporations have been limited from marketing formula for infants six months of age and younger.

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