Udayavni Special

WHO chief ‘politicising’ COVID-19 pandemic, siding with China: Trump

PTI, Apr 9, 2020, 11:58 AM IST

Washington: US President Donald Trump has fired a fresh salvo at the World Health Organization, accusing its chief of siding with China and “politicizing” the coronavirus pandemic while repeating his threat to freeze the UN agency’s funding.

Trump’s allegation comes a day after the US President threatened to put a “very powerful” hold on US’ funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) and criticized it for having “missed the call” in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump slammed the Geneva-based global health agency for its early guidance aimed at countering the international spread of the coronavirus

The president’s fresh allegation comes after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned against politicization of COVID-19 and said that such a move will only result in “many more body bags”.

“If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you [politicize the virus]. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it,” Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.

Hours later at the White House conference, Trump agreed that the COVID-19 should not be politicized, but alleged that the WHO chief was doing exactly that and was siding with China.

“When he (Ghebreyesus) says politicizing, he’s politicizing. That shouldn’t be. We spend USD 450 million last year, hundreds of millions in previous years. And they got to do better than that. They got to do better. When you talk about politics, I can’t believe he’s talking about politics look at the relationship they have to China,” Trump said in response to a question.

“China spends USD 42 million. We spend USD 450 million and everything seems to be China’s way. That’s not right. It’s not fair to us. And honestly, it’s not fair to the world,” he said.

The United States is reevaluating its funding with respect to the WHO, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters at the White House.

“This is very consistent with what President Trump said since the beginning of his campaign. Organizations have to work,” he added.

“They have to deliver the outcomes for which they were intended and we need to make sure that only the WHO 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 is delivering on this taxpayer dollars. The WHO is no different in that respect,” the top American diplomat said.

Trump asserted that the WHO had to get its priority right.

“I think they have to get their priorities right and their priorities are that everybody has to be treated properly, every country. And it doesn’t seem that way, he said.

“It doesn’t seem that way so we are going to do study investigation and we are going to make a determination as to what we are doing. In the meantime, we are holding back, we are going very unfair to the United States USD 452 million compared to USD 42 million that is to the World Health Organization. That is not good, that is not good, not fair,” he said.

“Not fair at all and other countries as you know also gave very substantially less than the United States and the world WHO got it wrong. I mean they got it very wrong, in many ways they were wrong. They also minimised the threat very strongly and not good,” Trump said.

In a statement, Senator Patrick Leahy said the WHO needed reform, just as it needs the strong support of the United States and other countries in order to do its job.

“But such complaints also apply to President Trump, who ignored numerous warnings, downplayed the threat, discounted medical science and squandered valuable time that could have saved countless lives,” the Democratic Senator said.

“He continues to shamelessly and relentlessly try to shift responsibility for his disastrous response to the coronavirus to anyone and everyone except himself. It’s the American people who desperately need new leadership,” Leahy said.

Senator Ted Cruz, in an interview to Houston’s Michael Berry Show, alleged that if China behaved like a responsible government, this crisis could have been averted.

It could have potentially been contained to the region where the outbreak occurred, but for months, they denied it, they suppressed it, he said.

“The World Health Organization acted as puppet and a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist government, insisting the coronavirus had no risk of a human to human transmission… the World Health Organization was helping China spread that propaganda. Many of the deaths we have seen worldwide are a direct consequence of the Chinese coverup,” Cruz said.

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