House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) on Monday announced a probe into President Donald Trump’s decision to halt funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) as officials look into how the United Nations group is being run.
Trump and top federal officials have said the WHO may have helped coverup the outbreak of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that emerged from mainland China last year. The WHO, which is closely aligned with the CCP, promoted talking points from China throughout January and February, including a claim that there wasn’t widespread human to human transmission of the virus.
Engel wrote in a letter (pdf) to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the administration’s rationale for halting funding “is inadequate.”
The chairman said his committee “is determined to understand the reasons behind this self-defeating withdrawal from global leadership.”
Admitting the WHO “is an imperfect organization,” Engel said the group “has made mistakes” during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and he supports reforms of the organization.
“But, certainly, cutting the WHO’s funding while the world confronts the COVID-19 tragedy is not the answer,” he added.
“Diplomatic, development, and global health professionals have warned that cutting the WHO’s funding at this time will only hurt the global response and provide another opportunity for China to exert its influence.”
Engel asked Pompeo to produce a number of documents by May 4, including any related to the decision to withhold funding from WHO and a complete list of State Department and USAID officials who were consulted by the White House before the decision.
The United States was WHO’s top source of funding in 2019 and 2018, contributing some $400 million last year.
Pompeo said last week the United States could permanently end funding to the group.