Media are reporting on how the U.S. threatened Ecuador with trade sanctions if it did not back off a resolution intended to promote breastfeeding around the world at a Geneva convention this spring for the United Nations’ World Health Assembly. Some delegates even reportedly threatened to cut its contribution to the World Health Organization. The measure was introduced, however, once Russia stepped in.
Vanity Fair said the U.S. delegation's move was proof that it values "profits over health and bulls*** over facts," defining our representatives as "thugs." Social media users called it "sexist" and "misogynist."
The New York Times, meanwhile, published a piece that painted America as a bully.
Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.
American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.
When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs.
The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.
The Times later quotes an official from the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, who referred to America's action as "blackmail." The editors then again accused the Trump administration of siding with "corporate interests."
That was the last straw for the president, who tried to set the record straight on Twitter. His administration is not against breastfeeding, he argued, they just wanted to get rid of some language in the resolution that was hostile to infant formulas.
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