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April 15, 2020

WHO’s Money Put on Hold

“As the organization’s leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been under well-deserved scrutiny during the current coronavirus pandemic. Two weeks ago, our Thomas Gallatin explained how WHO kowtows to the Communist Chinese by parroting its propaganda. For example, the WHO repeated China’s denial of human-to-human transmission, and its officials have gone from refusing to even acknowledge Taiwan for its progress in fighting the epidemic to outright hostility toward the island nation China still claims as its own. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus won the job in 2017 with Beijing’s backing, so this behavior is little wonder.

In light of all this, we made the case last week for why WHO shouldn’t keep getting the bountiful piles of cash given by the U.S. Yesterday, President Donald Trump pulled the plug.

“The world depends on the WHO to work with countries to ensure that accurate information about international health threats is shared in a timely manner,” President Trump noted at his task-force briefing. “And if it’s not, to independently tell the world the truth about what is happening. The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable.” He added, “So much death has been caused by their mistakes.”

Holding WHO accountable means stopping U.S. funding. “American taxpayers provide between $400 million and $500 million per year to the WHO. In contrast, China contributes roughly $40 million per year, and even less,” Trump said. “As the organization’s leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability.”

Thus, Trump halted U.S. funding pending a review of the WHO’s worthiness and response to the China Virus. That review won’t look good. As Trump observed, “The WHO willingly took China’s assurances … at face value and defended the actions of the Chinese government, even praising China for its so-called transparency.”

Tedros himself provides Exhibit A: “We appreciate the seriousness with which China is taking this outbreak, especially the commitment from top leadership, and the transparency they have demonstrated.” That was January 28, well after anyone paying attention should have at least suspected that China was lying and covering up the true numbers. Indeed, his comments came at least two weeks after Chinese strongman Xi Jinping knew the truth. But let’s be frank: Xi knew almost certainly as early as December.

Moreover, as we have noted on numerous occasions, had the ChiComs acted or alerted the world sooner, it would have reduced the viral spread by 95%. The WHO bears some responsibility for that.

It is indeed unfortunate the Trump himself often heaps praise upon Chinese leaders, including, er, applauding “their efforts and transparency.” Flattery is a sometimes incredibly distasteful part of his deal-making. Yet Trump took early action to restrict travel from China, despite vehement objections from the WHO. He’s also now taking action to hold accountable the WHO for its own complicity in the outbreak. To put it mildly, we’d welcome rhetorical consistency from the president. Still, we’ll give him credit for moving the ball in the right direction.

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