In an effort to diffuse the critiques of his slow and ineffective response to the COVID-19 threat, Donald Trump informed his administration he plans to stop U.S. funding for the World Health Organization saying the off-shoot of the United Nations was at fault for “severely mismanaging and covering up” the spread of the virus worldwide.
From the New York Times:
“So much death has been caused by their mistakes,” the president told reporters during a White House briefing.
In effect, Mr. Trump was accusing the world’s leading health organization of making all of the mistakes that he has made since the virus first emerged in China and then spread rapidly. As of Tuesday, there had been about two million cases of the virus worldwide, and nearly 125,000 deaths. In the United States, there have been over 600,000 cases and 25,000 deaths from the virus.
The basis for the president’s anger at the W.H.O. was his contention that it was too quick to believe information about the virus coming from the Chinese government at a time when it should have been more critical. He said the W.H.O. “willingly took China’s assurances to face value” and “pushed China’s misinformation.”
But it was Mr. Trump himself who went out of his way to publicly and repeatedly praise the Chinese government for its handling of the virus at a time at the beginning of the year that his administration was negotiating a trade deal with China.
In March, Trump famously declared, “I don’t take any responsibility at all” for the coronavirus threat.
Defending the decision on Fox News, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway embarrassingly declared, “This is COVID-19, not COVID-1 folks, and so you would think the people in charge of the World Health Organization, facts and figures, would be on top of that.”
Apparently, no one told Kellyanne the “19” refers to the year 2019, the year the virus appeared. This isn’t the 19th version of the coronavirus.
Kellyanne Conway: “This is COVID-19, not COVID-1 folks, and so you would think the people in charge of the World Health Organization, facts and figures, would be on top of that.” pic.twitter.com/losQ3H4ZhW
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) April 15, 2020
Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) April 15, 2020