Will President Trump help medically transport a 10-month-baby from London to the U.S. before the government and his doctors pull the plug on his life support?
That’s the question being raised on Twitter Monday. And it wouldn’t be the first time Trump has intervened to medically transport a sick child for treatment.
Little Charlie Gard – a 10-month-old baby in London who has been blocked from traveling to the U.S. to receive potentially life-saving treatment and could be days from the end of his life – captured the attention of Trump and the pope Monday.
A crowd of more than 100 protesters gathered outside Buckingham Palace Monday in a last-ditch plea to to stop the baby’s life support machine from being switched off. The group chanted, “Save Charlie Gard” and “Release Charlie Gard” while waving signs that read, “It’s murder.”
On Monday, President Trump weighed in on the matter in a tweet: “If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”
Now some Twitter users are urging Trump to send his plane to bring the baby to the U.S.:
- “Want to see Trump REALLY start an internat’l incident? He should offer to send his personal plane/pay for Charlie Gard USA hosp.” – Annie
- “Trump should send his plane to pick up #CharlieGard, bring him to the US for treatment. I want to see #FraudNewsCNN spin that as a bad thing.” – ADHD Capital
- “Send your Trump plane and make sure they get help on time.” – Lucy
- “Send your private plane – Trump Force 1! #CharlieGard.” – The Catholic Texan
- “President @realDonaldTrump, can you send your Trump plane to bring #CharlieGard to the U.S.? I know this wouldn’t be a first for you.” – Deplorable Skymom
- “Get that baby on the Trump plane and give him asylum in the US.” – Penny Lee
Against his parents’ wishes to keep their baby alive, Gard, who has a rare genetic disease called infantile-onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, could have his life support shut off any day. His parents raised more than $1.7 million so he could travel to the U.S. for experimental treatment. However, last week the European Court of Human Rights blocked the family from traveling to the U.S. and ordered an end to his life support because, the court said, it’s “in Charlie’s best interest.”
Gard’s doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children also want to remove life support from the baby. And they now have permission from the court to do so.
It was expected that the baby could be removed from life support as soon as Friday, though the hospital now claims it wants to give Gard and his family “more time together as a family.” The hospital offered no further details about its plans.
Gard’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have exhausted all their legal options to keep their son alive.
“We just CAN’T let our baby die when there is something that might help him!” Yates said, urging supporters to help the family by contributing to a GoFundMe campaign. “He deserves a chance, and he deserves a life as much as anyone else.”
Helen Farre, White House director of media affairs, said Monday: “Upon learning of baby Charlie Gard’s situation, President Trump has offered to help the family in this heartbreaking situation. Although the president himself has not spoken to the family, he does not want to pressure them in any way, members of the administration have spoken to the family in calls facilitated by the British government. The president is just trying to be helpful if at all possible.”
If Trump does choose to intervene, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s sent help for a critically ill little boy.
In 1988, Trump reportedly sent his private 727 to Los Angeles to medically transport 3-year-old Andrew Ten, an Orthodox Jewish boy who had a rare and undiagnosed breathing illness, to New York for treatment. Commercial airlines had refused to transport the child.
On July 20, 1988, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s Daily News Bulletin reported:
Trump made his plane available for the special trip to New York after the boy’s parents, Judy and Harold Ten, called Trump and told him of their plight.
Commercial airlines refused to fly the child because he could not travel without an elaborate life-support system, which includes a portable oxygen tank, a suction machine, a breathing bag and an adrenaline syringe.
“Mr. Trump did not hesitate when we called him up. He said ‘yes, I’ll send my plane out,’” 29-year-old Harold Ten recalled shortly after he landed here Tuesday morning.
Asked why he thought Trump made his private jet available, Ten replied, “Because he is a good man. He has three children of his own and he knows what being a parent is all about.”
Ten said he believes that Trump fulfilled the Talmudic saying that “he who saves one person’s life is as if he saved the entire world.”
In the current case, major broadcast networks have censored news about Baby Gard, according to NewsBusters.org. Despite public outcry over the story, ABC and CBS have yet to report on Gard’s case.
The Daily Caller reported Monday that NBC reporter Matt Bradley accused President Trump of exploiting Baby Gard.
Nonetheless, even Pope Francis has weighed in on the matter, siding with the Gard family.
The Vatican press office said he “is following with affection and sadness the case of little Charlie Gard and expresses his closeness to his parents. For this he prays that their wish to accompany and treat their child until the end is not neglected.”
Late Monday, the Vatican offered to care for Gard in a tweet by Vatican correspondent Francis X. Rocca.