Trump to the WHO: I'll Permanently Pull U.S. Funds From the Organization Unless...

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Posted: May 19, 2020 12:07 AM
Trump to the WHO: I'll Permanently Pull U.S. Funds From the Organization Unless...

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

President Donald Trump on Monday evening took to Twitter to share a copy of the letter he sent Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization.

The president laid out, in the great detail, why he halted the United States' funding of the organization. 

We know, for a fact, that Taiwan went to the WHO in December to warn about the coronavirus spreading throughout Wuhan, including that this virus was transmitted from human-to-human. Doctors and reporters in Wuhan sounded the alarm to the virus and the WHO turned a blind eye.

"The World Health Organization failed to independently investigate credible reports that conflicted directly with the Chinese government's official accounts, even those that came from sources within Wuhan itself," Trump wrote.

Taiwan did their part by alerting the WHO, which falls under the International Health Regulations' requirement that countries "report the risk of a health emergency within 24 hours."

Trump said China waited days, if not weeks, to make the WHO aware of the Wuhan coronavirus. It has been confirmed that China waited six days to talk about the virus. 

"According to Dr. Zhang Yongzhen of the Shanghai Public Health Clinic Center, he told Chinese authorities on January 5, 2020, that he had sequenced the genome of the virus. There was no publication of this information until six days later, on January 11, 2020, when Dr. Zhang self-posted it online," Trump wrote. "The next day, Chinese authorities closed his lab for 'rectification.' As even the World Health Organization acknowledged, Dr. Zhang's posting was a great act of 'transparency.' But the World Health Organization has been conspicuously silent both with respect to the closure of Dr. Zhang's lab and his assertion that he had notified Chinese authorities of his breakthrough six days earlier."   

The president also reminded Dr. Tedros that the WHO peddled "grossly inaccurate or misleading" claims about the coronavirus, including that the virus could not be transmitted from human-to-human, which directly conflicted with reports coming out of Wuhan. 

Trump also reminded Tedros that he gave into Chinese President Xi Jinping's pressure and refused to declare the Wuhan coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. A week later, Tedros was forced to backpedal after new evidence contradicted that claim.

After a late-January meeting with President Xi, Tedros praised China's "transparency" about the coronavirus and went so far as "announcing that China had set 'a new standard for outbreak control' and 'bought the world time.'"

"You did not mention that China had, by then, silenced or punished several doctors for speaking out about the virus and restricted Chinese institutions from publishing information about it," the president stated. 

Trump also reminded Tedros that he was strongly opposed to the United States halting flights from China in January. At the same time, Tedros praised Xi's travel restrictions.

"You also strongly praised China's strict domestic travel restrictions, but were inexplicably against my closing of the United States border, or the ban, with respect to people coming from China," Trump said. "I put the ban in place regardless of your wishes. Your political gamesmanship on that issue was deadly, as other governments, relying on your comments, delayed imposing life-saving restrictions on travel to and from China."

A few days after the president implemented his travel ban, Tedros doubled down on his stance, saying that travel restrictions were "'causing more harm than good.'" 

"Yet by then the world knew that, before locking down Wuhan, Chinese authorities had allowed more than five million people to leave the city and that many of these people were bound for international destinations all over the world," Trump wrote.

The director-general also told the world that it was highly unlikely that the virus would spread outside of China and, if it did, it would be "minimal and slow."

The WHO parrotted Chinese talking points about the severity of the virus, including that it was no more deadly or infectious than the normal seasonal flu. 

"By the time you finally declared the virus a pandemic on March 11, 2020, it had killed more than 4,000 people and infected more than 100,000 people in at least 114 countries around the world," the president stated.

According to Trump, China also discriminated against citizens from African nations contracting the virus. 

"You were aware that the Chinese authorities were carrying out a campaign of forced quarantines, evictions, and refusal of services against nationals of these countries," Trump wrote. "You have not commented on China's racially discriminatory actions. You have, however, baselessly labeled as racist Taiwan's well-founded complaints about your mishandling of this pandemic."

The president slammed Tedros' repeated praising of China's so-called "transparency" when they have been anything but.

Because the WHO failed to pressure China into allowing an independent investigation to occur about the origins of how the coronavirus began, a "Coronavirus Response Resolution" is being presented at this year's World Health Assembly. The United States and other members of the assembly want an independent investigation into how the WHO handled the pandemic.

President Trump alluded to the SARS outbreak in 2003 where the WHO's director-general, Harlem Brundtland declared the first emergency travel advisory in 55 years. 

"She also did not hesitate to criticize China for endangering global health by attempting to cover up the outbreak through its usual playbook of arresting whistleblowers and censoring media," Trump wrote. "Many lives could have been saved had you followed Dr. Brundtland's example."

President Trump gave the World Health Organization an ultimatum: reform the organization so it is proven to be independent from China or the United States' portion of its funding will be permanently halted. 

"The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China. My Administration has already started discussions with you on how to reform the organization. But action is needed quickly," Trump said. "We do not have time to waste. That is why it is my duty, as President of the United States, to inform you that, if the World Health Organization does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of the United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization. I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America's interests."

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