Donald Trump insists the U.S. supports the practice of breastfeeding.
On Monday, the president criticized a New York Times report that his administration opposes a major breastfeeding resolution that pushed to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding” around the world and to limit misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.
“The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breastfeeding must be called out. The U.S. strongly supports breastfeeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty,” Trump tweeted.
The Times alleged that the U.S. threatened countries over the World Health Organization (WHO)’s measure in support of breastfeeding and was “embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers.”
The U.S. reportedly demanded that “language asking governments to ‘protect, promote, and support breastfeeding’ be removed” and request lawmakers to “restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.”
When Ecuador, which was expected introduce the measure last spring, refused, the U.S. allegedly threatened to economically cripple the country with tariffs and withdrawal of U.S. military aid.
Trump’s reported opposition to the breastfeeding measure was denounced by many around the world. “We were astonished, appalled, and also saddened,” Patti Rundall, the policy director of the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, told the Times. “What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn nearly 40 years of consensus on the best way to protect infant and young child health.”
The U.S. eventually agreed to the breastfeeding resolution — when Russia backed it. In addition, the U.S. was able to remove the words, “inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children,” and added the phrase “evidence-based” to certain provisions.
Though Trump clarified the country’s stance on the breastfeeding measure, many were reminded of his stance on breastfeeding.
In July 2015, Trump denied claims he told a woman, “You’re disgusting,” for asking to excuse herself in 2011 so she could pump breast milk for her then-3-month-old daughter.