US Threatens Ally Over Breastfeeding, but Surrenders to Russia — Trump Whines ‘Fake News’
President Trump took to Twitter on Monday to attack the New York Times again. This time, for calling him out over accepting a breastfeeding resolution through the World Health Assembly. Interestingly enough, the resolution was introduced by Russia who many believe his campaign team colluded with.
President Trump tweeted:
The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out. The U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2018
A White House reporter responded saying that his tweet backs up their story.
He claims the story is false and then backs it up https://t.co/uNMgsXDiOX
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) July 9, 2018
Feuding With US Allies
Earlier this year, Ecuador introduced a resolution at the World Health Assembly to get more international support for breastfeeding. The intention of the resolution was to limit “inaccurate or misleading” marketing tactics by companies who manufacture breast milk substitutes. The resolution did not, however, bar the use of formula. The way the Trump administration reacted to the resolution, however, would make you believe that they were working for those companies or at the very least, working for Russia.
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The Trump administration opposed the resolution so strongly that it threatened Ecuador with trade measures. The US also threatened to cut military aid to the country if they did not end their proposal. This reaction is similar to how US government under the Trump administration has been treating other US allies. This year, Trump’s administration took action by enforcing tariffs against international trading partners who have, in turn, retaliated in the same way. Many believe that a trade war has already started, threatening the importing and exporting of products with the US.
Russia, however, introduced a similar breastfeeding resolution which the administration did not oppose.
Trump’s Support for Russia
Over the last year since Trump entered the Oval Office, he and his cabinet have fought with Congress over putting sanctions on Russia. The President has been openly reluctant to put sanctions on Russia saying that the US should have better relations with them. The President’s critics who already suspect that his campaign team colluded with Russian officials in 2016 feel that his hesitation only confirms that they did.
The Justice Department is currently conducting an ongoing investigation of potential collusion which has already led to charges and jailed many former members of Donald Trump’s team. The President and his current team have been pushing back against the investigation, even making unreasonable demands of the investigators.
By rejecting Ecuador’s resolution and accepting a similar one from Russia, it further confirms what his critics have suggested, that President Trump openly favors Russia over US allies.
Trump administration’s fringe focus on stigma
Trump’s administration wanted to remove a phrase from the original resolution that would force world governments to:
“protect, promote and support breastfeeding.”
When the US accepted a similar resolution from Russia, the text had been modified as the US wanted. Following this, the US helped pass the resolution.
A spokesperson for Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services, Caitlin Oakley, went to the administration’s defense saying:
“The United States was fighting to protect women’s abilities to make the best choices for the nutrition of their babies. Many women are not able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, these women should not be stigmatized; they should be equally supported with information and access to alternatives for the health of themselves and their babies.”
While there are many women who are unable to breastfeed, the resolution has more to do with fighting formula milk firms who are aggressively getting around regulations that protect mothers and healthcare professionals. In getting around those protections, they are able to try and influence them to choose formula over breastfeeding.
The initial resolution was also brought forward because of studies that have shown breastfeeding is much healthier than using formula. The World Health Organization also has an internal code that bans baby formula companies from targeting mothers and they also control advertising.
Trump is disgusted by breastfeeding
President Trump’s actions against the first resolution could also have something to do with his views on breastfeeding. In 2015 when Donald Trump started campaigning, CNN had a segment on his reaction to an attorney who had to break during a deposition to breastfeed. This was during one of his litigation cases. His reaction was to call the attorney “disgusting” before he stormed out of the room.
Here is that segment: