Trump criticizes WHO, calls it ‘very China centric’. President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and called the organization “very China centric.”
“The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, suggesting he would review the U.S. funding for the WHO, a body of the United Nations responsible for international public health.
“Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?” Trump wrote.
Trump was referring to the WHO’s statement on Feb. 3 that there was no need for widespread travel restrictions in order to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province. The Trump administration had restricted travel from China into the U.S. days earlier.
The WHO has faced growing criticism from conservatives over its response to the novel coronavirus as the United States grapples with the pandemic. Critics have blamed the organization for leaving other nations unprepared for the virus and some allege the organization helped China conceal the extent of the outbreak. The criticism has come as Trump received scrutiny for downplaying the threat from the virus early on.
Sen. Marthy McSally (R-Ariz.) called on WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to resign last week, after reports emerged that the U.S. intelligence community had concluded that China underreported its count of coronavirus cases.
“They need to come clean and another piece of this is, the WHO has to stop covering for them. I think Dr. Tedros needs to step down,” McSally told Fox Business in an interview last week. “We need to take some action to address this issue. It’s just irresponsible, it’s unconscionable what they have done here while we have people dying across the globe.”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) has also demanded the Senate Homeland Security Committee launch an inquiry into WHO’s handling of the virus, suggesting the organization’s actions had left the global community ill-prepared to combat the virus.
Trump’s criticism of the organization on Tuesday came days after Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the federal government’s coronavirus response efforts, noted during a briefing that the WHO said there was no reason to implement a ban on travel on Feb. 3 when discussing questions about what the global community could have done better to combat the virus.
The WHO did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday.