President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would not take immediate action to suspend funding for the World Health Organization (WHO), but he suggested that the option was still on the table one day after making the threat, CNBC reported. Trump and others have said that the WHO either helped China cover up the coronavirus outbreak or was inept in its response to the pandemic.
“So we’re going to do a study, an investigation, and we’re going to make a determination as to what we’re doing. In the meantime, we’re holding back,” Trump said, according to CNBC.
Trump threatens the WHO
The president’s critics have routinely complained that Trump did not act quickly enough to slow the spread of COVID-19, but Trump has pointed to his decision in January to restrict travel from China, where the virus originated, in response. At the same time, conservatives say that Democrats are too focused on blaming Trump when they should be blaming China and those who helped the regime in a cover-up of the outbreak.
At a coronavirus briefing at the White House Tuesday, Trump floated cutting funding to the WHO, which is part of the United Nations, complaining that the group is “biased” toward China and had mismanaged its response to the outbreak, according to The Hill. The WHO’s director said that he “doesn’t care” what the president says, the New York Post reported, but Trump didn’t hesitate to fire back.
“I can’t believe he’s talking about politics when look at the relationship they have to China. So China spends $42 million and we spend $450 million and everything seems to be China’s way,” the president said Wednesday, according to CNBC.
Trump and many Republicans have long said that the WHO bungled its response — or perhaps deliberately suppressed information coming from China — leaving the world exposed to the pandemic early on. In February, the WHO’s director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that restrictions to contain the pandemic were not necessary.
He also lavished praised on China’s outbreak response early on. Fox’s Tucker Carlson, an acerbic critic of the WHO and China, responded by calling the group China’s “lapdogs” on one of his recent shows, playing a clip of Tedros saying that “the Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak,” according to RealClearPolitics.
WHO criticized for China ties
Trump wants to give the group $58 million according to his budget for the 2021 fiscal year, a considerable cut from its authorized $122 million. In the meantime, Republican lawmakers have called on Tedros to resign, Fox News reports, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed back on that talk while taking a hard line on funding.
“Organizations have to work. They have to deliver the outcomes for which they were intended,” Pompeo said Wednesday, according to CNBC. “We need to make sure that, not only the World Health Organization but every international organization that we take taxpayer money and give it to them for the benefit of America, we need to make sure it’s delivering on those taxpayer dollars.”
Many in the media have pointed to Trump’s WHO flare-up as an example of the president looking for a scapegoat. They have made similar claims about Trump’s pointed use of rhetoric like “Chinese virus” to point out where the virus originated. The WHO also took issue with that language, The Hill noted.
As America fights an information war with China, the communist regime, for its part, has cited the WHO to tout its efforts against the virus, Fox reports — even as the regime has faced accusations of silencing whistleblowers and depressing its official figures.
Why is the United States funding an organization that promotes Chinese propaganda?