The House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Monday launched an investigation into President Donald Trump’s decision to freeze U.S. funds for the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) over its response to the Chinese coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, committee chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) wrote that the administration’s basis for halting the funds is “inadequate” and requested that the State Department turn over documents relating to the matter by May 4.
“The Committee of Foreign Affairs is determined to understand the reasons behind this self-defeating withdrawal from global leadership,” wrote Engel.
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) April 27, 2020
On April 14, President Trump announced the freeze while his administration investigates the United Nations organization’s response to the outbreak.
The president said the W.H.O. was guilty of “mismanaging and covering up” the coronavirus’ spread and vowed that it will face full accountability.
“America and the world have chosen to rely on the WHO for accurate, timely and independent information to make important public health recommendations and decisions,” he affirmed. “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.”
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.”
Engel agreed in his letter to Pompeo that the WHO is an “imperfect organization” that has “made mistakes during the course of this unprecedented emergency,” but it has played “an invaluable role” in curbing the spread of the virus and Trump’s decision to cut funding was to create a political distraction from his “calamitous” response.
He also said by withholding funding from the WHO the United States will be ceding space for China to continue to exert its influence.
“Attacking the WHO, rather than the COVID-19 outbreak, will only worsen an already dire situation by undermining one of our key tools to fight the spreading disease,” Engel wrote. If Pompeo does not provide the materials by next Monday, the committee said it will “consider all other measures at its disposal.”
The United States was by far the largest funder of the WHO contributing more than $890 million during the two-year cycle of 2018 and 2019.
The UPI contributed to this report.