Report: Trump Turned Down Invite to Address W.H.O., Sent Alex Azar to Attack Org Instead

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters during a signing of a spending bill to combat the coronavirus, at the White House, Friday, March 6, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Donald Trump rejected an invitation to address a virtual gathering held by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) on Monday and instead directed Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to deliver a “blistering” speech criticizing the United Nations-backed agency’s failed handling to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.

Axios reports:

The WHO extended an invitation earlier this month for Trump to speak at Monday’s virtual gathering of the World Health Assembly, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

He delivered his rejection to the WHO leadership through the U.S. Mission in Geneva, according to these sources.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar gave a blistering speech attacking the WHO. Azar said the WHO failed to obtain the information the world needed about COVID-19, “and that failure cost many lives.”

Azar reportedly continued: “We saw that WHO failed at its core mission of information-sharing and transparency when member states do not act in good faith. This cannot ever happen again. The status quo is intolerable. WHO must change and it must become far more transparent and far more accountable.”

Communist Chinese dictator Xi Jinping opted to accept W.H.O.’s invitation to the event and delivered a speech in which he announced that the regime would donate $2 billion in aid to combat the pandemic.

The development follows an Axios report stating that President Trump is “leaning toward” maintaining his administration’s freeze on U.S. funding for the W.H.O.

On Friday, Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, first reported that the White House had drafted a letter on a planned partial refunding of the W.H.O., which reads that the U.S. “will continue to partner and work with the World Health Organization and agree to pay up to what China pays in assessed contributions.”

The letter reportedly reads: “Despite [its] shortcomings, I believe that the W.H.O. still has tremendous potential, and want to see the W.H.O live up to this potential, particularly now during this global crisis” and “That is why I’ve decided that the United States will continue to partner and work with the World Health Organization and agree to pay up to what China pays in assessed contributions.”

The letter also slammed the W.HO.’s response to the coronavirus and advocated for the organization to undergo various reforms.

President Trump announced April 14 that his administration would place a hold on funding to the W.H.O., citing the organization’s slow response to the coronavirus outbreak and its cozy relationship with China.

“Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death,” the president said at the time. “This would have saved thousands of lives and avoided worldwide economic damage. Instead, the WHO willingly took China’s assurances to face value… and defended the actions of the Chinese government.”

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 as a global emergency.”

U.S. taxpayers dished out roughly $400 million to the W.H.O. last year compared to China’s $86 million. In late April, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced it would pledge another $30 million to the organization.

Earlier May, the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that Xi pressured embattled W.HO. chief, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a phone call to withhold information regarding human-to-human transmission of the virus and delay declaring a pandemic.

In response, the U.N. agency claimed Tedros and Xi “have never spoken by phone” and stated that “such inaccurate reports distract and detract from WHO’s and the world’s efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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