Trump blocks funding to World Health Organization over coronavirus response.
“The united states has a duty to insist on full accountability. One of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the WHO was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from china and other nations.”
On Wednesday at a white house lawn press conference President Trump announced the United States will stop all funding for the World Health Organization. Trump also said the WHO had put “political correctness over lifesaving measures.”
The president also said plans to reopen the economy were being finalized, and that he would be “authorizing governess to reopen their states as they see fit.” Trump also said he would not put “any pressure” on governors to reopen. He also talked about people in healthcare, sports, and business who are advising
“Many countries said were going to listen to the W.H.O. and they have problems the likes of which they cannot believe, nobody can believe. The decision of other major countries to keep travel open was one of the great tragedies and missed opportunities from the early days”
Trump had strong criticism for W.H.O. and the countries in Europe and other regions who allowed travel from china which exacerbated the coronavirus pandemic. Travel bans work because pandemics depend on human to human transmission.
“The W.H.O. failed to adequately obtain, vet, and share information in a timely and transparent fashion. The world depends on the W.H.O to work with countries to ensure that accurate information about international health threats is shared in a timely manner. And, if its not to independently tell the world the truth about what is happening. The WHO Failed in this basic duty, and must be held accountable. Its time after all of these decades.”
The W.H.O. was still not recommending travel restrictions from china even while the pandemic was growing earlier this year. Despite their advice, Trump blocked entry into the United States from China early in February which some experts say has helped slow the outbreak in the US.
He also said the WHO has ignored “credible information” as early as December 2019 that the virus may be transmitted from human to human. As early ass late December, medical staff in Wuhan china were suspected to have contracted the disease, indicating coronavirus could spread from human to human.
As the outbreak began in Wuhan, the Chinese government was suppressing news about coronavirus, and even detained a doctor who tried warning the international community about the threat of an outbreak. On January 8, the who announced “Preliminary identification of a novel virus in a short period of time is a notable achievement and demonstrates China’s increased capacity to manage new outbreaks.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden criticized Trumps travel restrictions as “hysterical xenophobia“
The United Nations Secretary-General on the World Health Organization issued a statement after Trump’s remarks saying it was “not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus,” and noting that the agency has “thousands of staff” working on the outbreak.
“Once we have finally turned the page on this epidemic, there must be a time to look back fully to understand how such a disease emerged and spread its devastation so quickly across the globe, and how all those involved reacted to the crisis,” the statement read. “The lessons learned will be essential to effectively address similar challenges, as they may arise in the future.”
Democrats in congress are outraged by the announcement.
“Withholding funds for WHO in the midst of the worst pandemic in a century makes as much sense as cutting off ammunition to an ally as the enemy closes in,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
Trump has made accountability for international organizations a cornerstone of his policymaking. Early in his presidency trump pushed other nations to contribute more to NATO, saying that international alliance was costing the United States too much money.
The briefing came with some trouble. When a CNN analyst, Brian Karem screamed questions even after his microphone had been cut off trump had this to say.
“I told them when they put this guy here, it’s nothing but trouble,” Trump said. “He’s a showboat. If you keep talking, I’ll leave, and you can have it out with the rest of these people.”
The president also shut down a reporter who insisted on mentioning that he was graciously asking a question for a colleague who couldn’t be in attendance.
“Who cares?” Trump asked. “If he can’t be here, that’s too bad.”