According to The Hill, President Donald Trump announced this week that his administration had begun the formal process of withdrawing America’s membership in the World Health Organization (WHO).
While the move sparked criticism from within his own party, Vice President Mike Pence reacted quickly in Trump’s defense, Fox News reported.
“A good, hard look”
In a letter he sent to the director-general of the WHO in May, the president accused the organization of failing to “independently investigate credible reports that conflicted directly with the Chinese government’s official accounts, even those that came from sources within Wuhan itself.”
Trump went on to cite the organization’s praise for China’s “transparency” in response to the public health crisis, asserting that it “consistently joined in these tributes, notwithstanding that China has been anything but transparent.”
Nevertheless, several Republicans sided with Democratic critics of the president, including Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who announced on Tuesday that he disagreed with the president’s decision.
“Certainly there needs to be a good, hard look at mistakes the World Health Organization might have made in connection with coronavirus, but the time to do that is after the crisis has been dealt with, not in the middle of it,” he said, according to Fox.
Pence addressed Alexander directly in his response, going on to assert that the WHO “let the world down by not informing the United States and the wider world of this pandemic as it began in China, giving ill-fated advice in January and February.”
“Strengthening global health”
The vice president also took a shot at Joe Biden, Trump’s presumptive challenger in the upcoming presidential election, as Fox reported.
Biden, for his part, tweeted his disapproval of Trump’s move shortly after it was announced, stressing that “Americans are safer when America is engaged in strengthening global health” and promising that he would rejoin the organization on his first day in the White House.
“If Joe Biden would’ve had his way we literally would’ve had tens of millions of more Chinese coming into our country and spreading the pandemic and putting more and more Americans at risk,” Pence said, according to Fox.
Trump’s announcement of U.S. withdrawal from the WHO might be controversial, but it should not come as a surprise given his previous comments.
To those who support his stance, it only serves as the latest example of the president following through on his promise.