President Trump on Friday announced a halt to U.S. funding of the World Health Organization after an investigation of the global body’s role in China’s mishandling and cover-up of its response to the coronavirus.
The U.S. had been contributing $400 million and $500 million annually to the WHO, Trump explained.
“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today be terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” the president said.
Trump also criticized China for its conduct on the coronavirus and its violation of the “one country, two systems” agreement governing Hong Kong.
“The world is now suffering as a result of the misfeasance of the Chinese government,” he charged.
The U.S. has criticized the praise of WHO officials for Chinese “transparency” on COVID-19 amid evidence Beijing withheld information crucial to curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
For example, China banned travel within its borders because of the virus but still allowed its citizens to travel abroad.
Trump charged: “Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities. Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted across the globe.”
American Enterprise Institute scholars Nicholas Eberstadt and Dan Blumenthal in a New York Post column last month charged the WHO “has acted as Beijing’s handmaid.”
Trump has accused the WHO of being “very China centric.” He previously pointed out the organization stated Feb. 3 there was no need for widespread travel restrictions to combat the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China.
Sen. Marthy McSally, R-Ariz., has called for the resignation of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for his defense of China’s actions and his close ties to the communist regime.
Eberstadt and Blumenthal acknowledged that the “fog of war obscures much about the novel coronavirus pandemic.”
“But two facts seem absolutely certain,” they said. “First, China’s Communist authorities have lied, concealed and misled about the origins of the epidemic and the toll of the virus in China. Second, the World Health Organization has acted as Beijing’s handmaid.”
The writers concluded that, consequently, “the global toll of the tragedy will be much greater than it need have been.”
They noted that Beijing lies “about, well, everything.”
First was the cover-up of the origin of the coronavirus and its ability to be transmitted from human to human. Then the numbers of infections and deaths that followed “obviously” were undercounted.
And then there was the Chinese Communist Party’s disinformation campaign, in which it claimed the virus came from America.
“Which brings us to the WHO’s malfeasance in this affair,” Eberstadt and Blumenthal said. “The WHO should have known at the outset that it was dealing with a bad-faith actor in Beijing. Yet — instead of immediately insisting upon access, openness and transparency from China, WHO leadership followed the Chinese lead and at times even took the Chinese line.”
He called Tedros an “accomplice to China’s massive coverup” and said he should resign.