Top Republican senators voiced support for President Trump’s suggestion that the United States should pull its funding for the World Health Organization as the group faces allegations that it has a pro-China bias, leading to a botched coronavirus response.
Trump criticized the WHO at the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday for not supporting a travel ban he implemented on China earlier this year meant to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus from the country where it originated, and he raised the possibility of putting a "very powerful hold" on the "vast amounts" of funds the U. S. gives it.
He later walked back the remark when questioned by a reporter about whether it was good timing to freeze funding.
“I'm not saying I'm going to do it, but we are going to look at it,” Trump responded, adding that it will be something his administration will “investigate.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham weighed in on Fox News soon after.
“I’m going to take the burden off the president — in the next appropriations bill, there’s not going to be any money for the WHO,” the South Carolina Republican said. “I’m in charge of the Appropriations Subcommittee, and I’m not going to support funding the WHO under its current leadership.”
Graham said the WHO was composed of "Chinese apologists" and had been "deceptive" and "slow." He said, "I don’t think they’re a good investment under the current leadership for the United States.”
The Senate Judiciary chairman added that he thought it was “in America’s best interests to withhold funding” until “they change their behavior and get new leadership.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would “work with the Trump administration to ensure the WHO is independent and has not been compromised by the CCP before we continue our current funding.”
“The Chinese Communist Party used the WHO to mislead the world,” the Florida Republican said. “The organization’s leadership is either complicit or dangerously incompetent.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been criticized for his longtime friendliness toward China, and the WHO repeatedly and vocally opposed any countries imposing travel restrictions against China.
Tedros argued in late January that “there is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade” and “the WHO doesn’t recommend limiting trade and movement.”
But the Trump administration ignored th... (Read more)
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