Democratic strategist Adrienne Elrod on Monday said the Trump administration is taking part in “pay to play” practices by opposing a World Health Assembly resolution to promote breastfeeding.
“This is the ultimate ‘pay to play’ that we’re seeing from the Trump administration on something like breastfeeding,” Elrod, who served as the director of strategic communications for Hillary Clinton, told Hill TV’s Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on “Rising.”
“There are so many countries where they don’t have access to anything but a mother’s breast milk, which is the only way your baby’s going to get nutrition,” she continued.
“We know that the trade association that represents … infant formula manufacturers is behind this,” she said.
“Anytime that you think anything has happened in the Trump administration that can’t get any more extreme or crazier, something like this happens.”
Elrod’s comments come after reports surfaced on Sunday that the U.S. turned to threats at the World Health Assembly in an effort to kill the resolution.
The $70 billion baby formula industry is centered in the U.S. and Europe and has experienced decreased sales as more women turn to breastfeeding.
The New York Times reported that the U.S. threatened to punish Ecuador, which planned to introduce the measure, by cutting military aid and implementing trade measures if it did not drop the resolution.
The Hill has reached out to the State Department for comment.
The Department of Health and Human Services denied to the Times it was involved in threatening Ecuador.
HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said the opposition to the measure promoting breastfeeding was not based on an “anti-breastfeeding” stance.
“Recent reporting attempts to portray the U.S. position at the recent World Health Assembly as ‘anti-breastfeeding’ are patently false,” Oakley said in a statement. “The United States has a long history of supporting mothers and breastfeeding around the world and is the largest bilateral donor of such foreign assistance programs. The issues being debated, were not about whether one supports breastfeeding.”
— Julia Manchester
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