Texas Republican Congressman Will Hurd pleaded with President Donald Trump to reverse his Friday decision terminating the United States’ relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), with the GOP lawmaker saying the move only helps the Chinese Communist Party.
Hurd penned an op-ed in The New York Times Friday, just hours after Trump announced “China has total control” over the WHO and cut off all funding to the international health body. The congressman cautioned that “leaving the WHO sends the message that the world cannot count on the United States,” while corroborating China’s aggressive disinformation campaign that has been aimed, in part, at exposing America’s lack of commitment to the international community.
Hurd wrote that while WHO made mistakes in its response to the coronavirus spread, walking away from the organization will make it much harder to prevent the spread of future disease across the globe.
“International coalitions are essential to fighting global challenges; we should be strengthening our alliances, not dismantling them,” Hurd wrote. “President Trump’s recent decision to terminate America’s role in the World Health Organization will have devastating effects on global health, and it will benefit the Chinese Communist Party.
He blamed the Chinese government for its failed COVID-19 response, particularly for hiding the virus from the rest of the world, holding back research, and for detaining doctors who tried to slow its spread.
The Republican member of Congress also criticized China for using “blatant racism against African nationals in China” as part of its botched coronavirus response.
Newsweek reached out to the White House for response to Hurd’s op-ed Saturday morning.
Hurd’s opinion piece, titled “Leaving the WHO Shows Poor Leadership,” comes the same week as the U.S. surpassed 100,000 deaths tied to COVID-19, by far the worst death toll in the world.
The congressman highlighted the WHO helping with the eradication of diseases including smallpox while helping countries throughout the world deal with AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. He repeatedly warned that a lack of U.S. leadership within the international conglomerate will make the response to a future pandemic potentially far worse.
By pulling out of the WHO, Hurd wrote, Trump is giving credence to the Chinese Communist Party’s “aggressive messaging” campaign looking to sow discord among European countries about America’s lack of commitment abroad.
“I have been critical of both the @WHO and Chinese Communist Party’s handling of the pandemic and called for answers, but turning our backs on the WHO is not the answer,” he added in a tweet Friday evening.
Trump on Friday declared that Washington will redirect the WHO funds to other global health charities and groups. “The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” the president said. “[China] instigated a global pandemic that has cost over 100,000 American lives.”
The WHO is not the only international group concerned about the bickering between the world’s two largest economies. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, also cautioned that China is trying to take advantage of the diplomatic divisions between European countries in order to impose their own “state-centric” worldview. He warned the 27-nation bloc to “maintain discipline,” as China tries to repair its image after botching the coronavirus pandemic response.
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