Former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday that he is “distressed” over President Donald Trump’s decision to halt U.S. funding for the World Health Organization, arguing that the United Nations-backed group is the only international organization “capable” of helping combat the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
“I am distressed by the decision to withhold critically needed U.S. funding for the World Health Organization, especially during an international pandemic,” Carter said in a statement. “WHO is the only international organization capable of leading the effort to control the virus.”
On Tuesday, President Trump announced he had halted funding for the W.H.O. as part of his administration’s plan to review the organization’s response to the pandemic.
President Trump accused W.H.O. of “mismanaging and covering up the spread” of the coronavirus in his Rose Garden speech and vowed to hold the group accountable.
“As the organization’s leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability,” President Trump stated.
“America and the world have chosen to rely on the W.H.O. for accurate, timely and independent information to make important public health recommendations and decisions,” the president added. “If we cannot trust that this is what we will receive from the WHO, our country will be forced to find other ways to work with other nations to achieve public health goals.”
“We spend $500 million a year,” he added, noting that China only contributes up to $40 million annually.
As Breitbart News reported: “The W.H.O. claimed in January that ‘preliminary investigations’ by China found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus in Wuhan. Further, the organization called on countries to keep borders open despite labeling the massive outbreak a global emergency.”
Addressing President Trump’s decision Wednesday, W.H.O Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organization regrets the move and said the body will partner with others to fill gaps in funding to “ensure our work continues uninterrupted.”
“Our commitment to public health, science, and to serving all the people of the world without fear or favor remains absolute,” he added. “No doubt areas for improvement will be identified, and there will be lessons for all of us to learn. But for now, our focus…is on stoping this virus and saving lives.”
Shortly after Adhanom’s remarks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) pledged to challenge President Trump’s freeze on W.H.O.’s funding, calling the halt “dangerous,” and “illegal.”
“This is another case, as I have said, of the president’s ineffective response, that ‘a weak person, a poor leader, takes no responsibility. A weak person blames others,’” said the speaker. “This decision is dangerous, illegal and will be swiftly challenged.”
“We can only be successful in defeating this global pandemic through a coordinated international response with respect for science and data,” the lawmaker added. “But sadly, as he has since Day One, the president is ignoring global health experts, disregarding science, and undermining the heroes fighting on the frontline, at great risk to the lives and livelihoods of Americans and people around the world.”