Trump defends U.S. stance on breastfeeding as Rep. Maloney calls for hearings

Jul 9, 2018
In The News

President Trump on Monday called a report that the U.S. tried to scuttle a pro-breastfeeding World Health Assembly resolution fake news — even as he defended the position against the resolution.

The New York Times reported Sunday that the United States had tried to water down a resolution, opposed by the formula industry, calling on governments to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding” and to restrict the promotion of other food products that experts believe are less healthy. The U.S. even threatened Ecuador, which introduced the resolution, with trade restrictions and the loss of military aid if it didn’t withdraw — which it did, the Times reported.

The resolution was eventually introduced by Russia — which was not threatened by the U.S. — and passed.

“The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “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.”

While the resolution encouraged breastfeeding, it did not call for women to be denied access to formula.

Outside City Hall on Monday, Rep. Carolyn Maloney held a press conference alongside a breastfeeding mother and City Councilman Robert Cornegy at which she said she was “absolutely shocked” by the U.S. position at the World Health Assembly.

“This is unconscionable. I am calling for hearings,” Maloney said, adding that “we used to be the beacon of light and hope for the world.”

“When we spoke, people listened because we were talking about helping people, helping their health, helping their children,” she said.

Maloney said she would call on the Women’s Caucus to lead hearings, though she acknowledged that may not happen as long as Republicans remain in control of Congress.

“I will be working with Councilmember Cornegy to have hearings here in the City Council because 10 to 1 they won’t have them in Congress,” she said. “It is a scandal.”

Asked what she hoped to accomplish with a local hearing on an international issue, Maloney said it’s “the most important city in the world” and has long been a health leader.

“I think you need to raise awareness and you have to educate people that this is where America stands and this administration’s resolutions in this particular case does not speak for me or the majority of people in this country,” she said.

Cornegy (D-Brooklyn) said he would introduce a Council resolution in support of the World Health Assembly’s resolution.

“We’ll be forming a resolution to support the resolution. We’re aware that it’s already passed, but for good measure we want on the record that the City Council supports that resolution,” he said.