Yesterday, President Trump announced he would place a hold on funding for the World Health Organization and accused them of failures and being “China-centric.”
The Hill reports the World Health Organization (WHO) pushed back recent criticism from President Trump, who described the body as “very China centric” in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying work with the country where the disease was first detected was critical to learning more about the virus.
Dr. Bruce Aylward, who serves as senior adviser to the organization’s director general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told reporters that it “was absolutely critical in the early part of this outbreak to have full access to everything possible, to get on the ground and work with the Chinese to understand this,” Reuters reported Wednesday.
“This is what we did with every other hard hit country like Spain and had nothing to do with China specifically,” he continued.
He also reportedly rejected Trump’s criticism the day before about the organization’s recommendation to keep U.S. borders open to China, pointing to early steps Beijing made to mitigate outbreak.
The comments by Aylward come a day after Trump leveled harsh criticism against WHO for its response to the global coronavirus outbreak, saying the organization “really blew it.”
“The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look,” Trump tweeted on early Tuesday, adding: “Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation.”
In later remarks at a press briefing on Tuesday, Trump said that his administration would be looking more deeply into the organization’s response to the outbreak and was considering placing a hold on funding to the body.
When asked a reporter if it was a good idea to withhold funding to the health organization amid the pandemic, Trump responded: “I’m not going to say I’m going to do it. We will look at ending funding.”