Donald Trump is finally making good on months of threats to withdraw from the politically-compromised and corrupt World Health Organization (WHO).
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) broke the news early Tuesday afternoon. Menendez is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. He slammed the Trump Administration’s handling of COVID-19 as worse than “chaotic & incoherent.”
Menendez is directing his fire at the wrong villain. It’s the World Health Organization and Chinese government that bungled the coronavirus pandemic.
The WHO pandered to China during the critical early phase of the coronavirus outbreak. It’s no secret why. China has long held an outsized influence in the organization as Beijing makes its bid to become a world health superpower.
That might read like a partisan talking point from a MAGA hat-wearing Trump booster on right-wing talk radio. It’s not. It’s the conclusion of the non-partisan Council on Foreign Relations and a public health and China expert at Foreign Policy magazine.
By letting the WHO off the hook, Democratic politicians like Bob Menendez are the ones playing politics with Americans’ health.
At the end of February, with the coronavirus outbreak boiling over from its epicenter in Wuhan, the Council on Foreign Relations concluded :
The WHO’s weak response to China’s mishandling of the COVID-19 outbreak has laundered China’s image at the expense of the WHO’s credibility. The time is ripe for clear leadership from the WHO based on science not politics.
The CFR is anything but a mouthpiece for the Trump administration. Its non-partisan board includes prominent Democrats like Tim Geithner and Janet Napolitano.
The CFR pointed to the WHO’s refusal to include Taiwan as a member state. That’s proof positive that it’s placing China’s political interests above world health.
Why? The Chinese government has increased funds to the WHO by 52% since 2014. Over that same time, other members increased theirs by an average of 3%.
Foreign Policy’s Hinnerk Feldwisch-Drentrup wrote in April that the WHO “was keen to broadcast Beijing’s message.”
WHO was uncritically repeating information from the Chinese authorities, ignoring warnings from Taiwanese doctors—unrepresented in WHO, which is a United Nations body—and reluctant to declare a “public health emergency of international concern…”
Hinnerk Feldwisch-Drentrup, who wrote the report, is no partisan hack either. The Berlin-based journalist covers life science, bioethics, science policy, and China. He’s tweeted several highly critical stories questioning Trump’s dedication to facts .
Feldwisch-Drentrup pins the blame for the pandemic’s spread on China and the WHO. He highlights the claim of Chinese health authorities, repeated by the WHO, and then Western journalists , that:
…there is no evidence that the new virus is readily spread by humans, which would make it particularly dangerous, and it has not been tied to any deaths.
In March, National Review published a detailed timeline of the WHO’s complicity in spreading dangerously false Chinese COVID propaganda .
While the National Review is notably partisan, with a conservative bias, Jim Geraghty’s report is well-supported by a plethora of links to source material from non-partisan and left-leaning sources.
It’s the World Health Organization that left America sick and alone, not the Trump White House.
President Trump is doing the right thing by putting U.S. taxpayer dollars to better use while stripping the WHO of its undeserved mantle as a trustworthy authority when it comes to our health and safety.
Given the way the WHO exploited its institutional capital to defend one of the United States’ chief geopolitical rivals , the only real question is why it took him so long.