Call it incompetence or call it deviousness, but the World Health Organization’s (WHO) response to the coronavirus pandemic has become an issue for President Donald Trump.
Despite taking millions in taxpayer dollars, the WHO has suspiciously “China-centric” policies that came to the detriment of America — and the world, Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Tuesday. The president threatened to withhold funding from the WHO this week, while the media has accused Trump of looking for a “scapegoat.”
“The World Health [Organization] — very China-centric, as I say — basically everything was very positive for China,” Trump told Hannity, according to Fox. “Don’t close your borders, they strongly recommended… That would’ve been a disaster, that would’ve been a total disaster.”
Trump crushes the WHO
At press conferences this week, Trump has bashed the WHO and threatened to cut funding from the group, according to CNBC, prompting predictable dismissals to the effect that he is looking for someone to blame for the pandemic’s toll. But that hasn’t stopped Trump from asking the question: why is an international organization that takes money from Americans helping America’s enemy?
Although America is the WHO’s primary contributor, the international organization “called every shot wrong” in the early stages of the pandemic, including by criticizing Trump’s decision to restrict travel with China, Trump told Hannity, according to Fox. The WHO also took issue with Trump accurately calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus,” The Hill noted, raising the possibility that the group is biased in favor of China.
“We’re going to look at it now because I think every step that they made, everything that they said was wrong and always in favor of China,” Trump said Tuesday, according to Fox. “And ‘keep it open, don’t close the borders.’ I didn’t listen to them, and I did what I wanted to do, and it was a good move.”
Ineptitude or corruption?
Now, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and thousands have died, all on account of a virus that originated in China and that, according to many critics, the Chinese regime covered up. In light of China’s actions, was the WHO’s response inept or corrupt?
To some, the WHO has hewed very closely — too closely — to China’s official talking points since the pandemic broke out. The organization’s director, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, praised China’s “transparency” in January, Fox noted, only to criticize Trump for encouraging “fear and stigma with little health benefit” by enacting travel restrictions with China.
The media and WHO have credulously echoed China’s official claims about the virus, but many people have expressed skepticism of the regime’s official statistics, which to many seem impossibly low for the most populous nation in the world, as The Guardian notes. Republican lawmakers in the U.S. have called on the WHO to lose its funding and for Dr. Tedros to resign over its perceived connections to China, Fox News reported.
WHO gets defensive
President Trump doubled down on threats to suspend the organization’s funding Wednesday, according to CNBC, as the WHO went into a defensive crouch and the media ran interference, accusing Trump of looking for a “scapegoat.” But the WHO, which supposedly has the mission of saving lives, responded to the possibility of losing America’s largesse with threats. The group demanded that Trump stop criticizing them unless he wants “more body bags.”
“If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it,” Dr. Tedros said Wednesday, according to The Hill.
It sounds like Trump touched a nerve.