President Donald Trump offered to help a terminally ill British baby on Monday, saying on Twitter that “if we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”
Charlie Gard suffers from a rare genetic condition and is unable to breathe unaided. Last week, his parents lost a legal battle to take him to the U.S. for trial therapy. His parents and a London children’s hospital said Friday that the 10-month-old boy will be given “more time” before life support is withdrawn.
White House spokeswoman Helen Aguirre Ferre said that members of the Trump administration have spoken to Gard’s family.
“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,” she said, calling the situation “heartbreaking.”
There is little Trump can do to help, because U.K. and European courts have deferred to the hospital’s decision not to allow Charlie to be sent to the U.S. for trial therapy.
Pope Francis on Sunday called for Gard’s parents to be allowed to do everything possible to treat their child.
In a statement, the Vatican press office said Francis “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.”
On Tuesday, the parents lost a bid to take Charlie to the U.S. for trial therapy when the European Court of Human Rights sided with earlier rulings that continued treatment would cause “significant harm” and that life support should end. Specialists have said the proposed therapy wouldn’t help Charlie.