President Trump went after the World Health Organization in a tweet Tuesday, calling it too ‘China centric’ and threatening to trim U.S. funding from the body.
‘The W.H.O. really blew it,’ Trump wrote. ‘For some reason, funded largely by the United States yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look.’
Trump was following the lead of other American conservatives who have placed blame on WHO for ‘helping Communist China cover up a global pandemic,’ as Sen. Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, put it.
President Trump, photographed at the daily coronavirus briefing on Sunday, blasted the World Health Organization in a Tuesday tweet, saying it ‘really blew it’
Trump suggested he might cut the U.S.’s funding that goes toward WHO, calling the United Nations agency ‘very China centric’
The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China – where Chinese authorities lifted a travel ban on April 8. Conservative allies of Trump have said WHO helped China cover-up the outbreak
The coroanvirus pandemic originated in Wuhan, China.
At the same time, Democratic governors, lawmakers and pundits have condemned Trump’s response in combatting the virus, suggesting he did too little, too late.
On January 31, the Trump administration announced travel restrictions on people coming from China due to the outbreak.
But on February 3, WHO said such bans were not needed.
‘Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on,’ Trump tweeted Tuesday.
‘Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?’ the president asked.
WHO is also still not recommending that every person wears a mask, while the U.S.’s Centers of Disease Control made the voluntary recommendation last week.
GOP lawmakers have floated that it’s because the WHO is under China’s spell.
Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, said WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus should resign because ‘he allowed Beijing to use the WHO to mislead the global community.’
As did Sen. Martha McSally, an Arizona Republican.
‘They need to come clean and another piece of this is, the WHO has to stop covering for them,’ she said of China. ‘I think Dr. Tedros needs to step down,’ McSally said on Fox Business Network.
‘We need to take some actions to address this issue. It’s just irresponsible, it’s unconscionable what they have done here while we have people dying across the globe,’ McSally added.
Scott, the Florida senator, said the Senate Homeland Security Committee needed to launch an investigation into WHO’s handling of the virus.
In late January, Tedros complimented China’s President Xi Jinping for the country’s handling of the virus, as the Chinese leader centralized the response after local officials in Wuhan couldn’t keep the outbreak under control.
But Xi also controlled the flow of information, with reports coming out of China that the country had been trying to silence whistleblowers.
Last week Bloomberg News reported on a U.S. intelligence report that said China was underreporting its coronavirus numbers of cases and deaths.
Trump voiced that he, too, has been skeptical of China’s reporting.
WHO has been criticized for taking Chinese data at face value.
‘Their numbers seem to be a little bit on the light side, and I’m being nice when I say that,’ Trump said at a daily briefing.
WHO is part of the United Nations and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It has 194 members and two associate members.
WHO is funded in two ways – through assessed contributions and voluntary contributions.
The assessed contributions, which are like dues to the organization, are calculated by looking at a country’s wealth and population.
While the U.S. pays the most in assessed contributions, that full pot of money has only accounted for less than 25 per cent of WHO’s haul over the past few years.