By Frank Fang
Former First Lady Melania Trump said a lack of “leadership” is to blame for families facing a shortage of baby formula.
“It’s heartbreaking to see that they are struggling and the food is not available for children in [the] 21st century in the United States of America, she told Fox News in an interview on May 15.
When asked why there is a shortage, Trump said it was because of a lack of “leadership.”
Trump’s appearance on Fox marks her first interview since she left the White House. She also gave her thoughts on the current state of America under the Biden administration.
“I think it’s sad to see what’s going on, if you really look deeply into it,” she said, adding: “I think a lot of people are struggling and suffering and what is going on around the world as well. So it’s very sad to see and I hope it changes fast.”
Supply chain disruptions and a February recall have led to the current nationwide shortage of infant formula. According to Datasembly, the United States out-of-stock rate for baby formula was relatively stable, ranging between 2 and 8 percent, in the first half of last year. The rate began to climb steadily since December and it stood at 43 percent for the week ending May 8.
Abbott Nutrition, one of the largest baby formula makers in the United States, began recalling several brands of its baby formula manufactured at its Michigan plant on Feb. 17, after four children became sick with bacterial infections. Two of the children died and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the recalled formula “may have contributed to the cause of death.”
The FDA, in collaboration with U.S. market research company IRI, reported that the country’s inventory levels of infant formula have dropped 12 percent since late February.
On May 10, FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf issued a statement saying that the agency is “doing everything in its power” to resolve the supply shortage.
“Our teams have been working tirelessly to address and alleviate supply issues and will continue doing everything within our authority to ensure the production of safe infant formula products,” Califf said.
The Biden administration has announced steps to address the crisis, including “importing certain infant formula products from abroad” and cutting “red tape” to make sure baby formula gets to store shelves quicker.
On May 13, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is considering using the Defense Production Act to step up domestic production of baby formula.
The Biden administration drew criticism from Republican lawmakers over its handling of the crisis.
Over 100 House Republicans sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Califf on May 11, calling on the administration “to do more to help parents across this country.”
“This issue is a matter of life and death, and it is time this administration treats it with the appropriate urgency it deserves,” the lawmakers added.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), in a recent interview with NTD’s “Capital Report,” criticized Biden and House Democrats for what she called a lack of action.
“I wrote a letter in February, reaching out to the FDA demanding, what is your plan?” Stefanik said. “We got no substantive response.”