President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Wolf in July Fourth salute: "God bless abortions and God bless America" Graham: Trump's Supreme Court picks "all winners" Man arrested after allegedly threatening to kill Trump supporters, GOP lawmaker MORE on Monday blasted a New York Times report detailing a US effort to quash a World Health Assembly (WHA) measure promoting breastfeeding, insisting that the USA supports the practice but did not want to limit access to breast milk substitutes.
Calling it "Fake News", Trump criticized a New York Times story reporting that USA officials sought to remove language that urged governments to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, along with language calling on policymakers to limit the promotion of food products, such as infant formula, that can be harmful to young children.
On Twitter, Mr Trump "called out" the Times and said the "US strongly supports breastfeeding".
But more than a dozen participants from several countries-most requesting anonymity out of fear of United States retaliation-told the Times that the American officials surprised health experts and fellow delegates alike by fiercely opposing the resolution. "Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty", Trump tweeted Monday.
But when that failed, the United States reportedly put the squeeze on countries backing the resolution by making aggressive trade and military threats-a move that further stunned the assembly.
"We were astonished, appalled and also saddened", Patti Rundall, the policy director of the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action told The Times of the United States' actions.
The Department of Health and Human Services, which said it did not threaten Ecuador, defended its decision to push back against the resolution. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.
The measure was expected to be introduced by Ecuador.
'We recognize not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons.
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HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said in a statement responding to the account of the resolution that the USA "has a long history of supporting mothers and breastfeeding around the world and is the largest bilateral donor of such foreign assistance programs".
"These women should have the choice and access to alternatives for the health of their babies, and not be stigmatized for the ways in which they are able to do so", a spokesperson said in an email.
The State Department declined the Times' request to comment and said it could not discuss private diplomatic conversations.
Mothers breastfeeding their children.
Companies that sell baby formula generate $70billion annually, but those sales have been stagnant due to the increased popularity of breastfeeding.
The Trump Administration is under fire for trying to bully other nations into voting against an worldwide resolution in favor of breastfeeding over formula milk for infants.
The issue stemmed around the wording of a new resolution that sought to promote breastfeeding.
'We were shocked because we didn't understand how such a small matter like breastfeeding could provoke such a dramatic response, ' the official said. Some language was still changed however, including removing "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children" and adding "evidence-based" to some statements.