WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump said Monday that the U.S. “would be delighted” to help a terminally ill 10-month-old from the United Kingdom “if we can.”
His tweet was in reference to Charlie Gard, a baby who is set to be taken off life support after a battle in the courts between the hospital, which said there was nothing to be done to save him, and his parents, who want to take him to the U.S. for an experimental treatment. Gard has a rare genetic condition that has left him unable to breathe or move his arms or legs on his own, according to a United Kingdom Supreme Court decision in June.
White House spokeswoman Helen Aguirre Ferré said Trump offered to help after hearing about the 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,” she said in a statement Monday afternoon. “The President is just trying to be helpful if at all possible.”
Last Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights upheld previous court rulings to allow the hospital to discontinue life support, citing United Kingdom domestic courts’ conclusion that “it was likely that Charlie would suffer significant harm if his present suffering was prolonged without any realistic prospect of improvement, and the experimental therapy would be of no effective benefit.”
Gard’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, posted on Facebook afterward that they were “utterly heartbroken” and that they and Charlie had “been massively let down throughout this whole process.”
Pope Francis weighed in on the case on Sunday, siding with Gard’s parents. The Vatican issued a statement that the pope “prays that their wish to accompany and treat their child until the end isn’t neglected.”
Gard’s parents are still fighting to take their son home from the hospital to die. They said last week that doctors had planned to take Gard off life support on Friday but it had been postponed.
“Together with Charlie’s parents we are putting plans in place for his care, and to give them more time together as a family,” a spokesman for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust told The Washington Post. “We would ask you to give the family and our staff some space and privacy at this distressing time.”
This article has been updated with a statement from a White House spokeswoman.