Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and six other senators, in a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus dated April 14, requested information relating to the body’s “role in helping the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] cover up information regarding the threat of the Coronavirus.” The request was made ahead of a congressional hearing by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to investigate the WHO’s handling of the outbreak.
The move came amid growing calls by U.S. lawmakers to defund the international body over its role in aiding the Chinese regime to downplay the severity of the outbreak.
President Donald Trump announced today he instructed his administration to halt funding of the WHO, while a review is conducted to assess the body’s role in mismanaging and covering up the spread of the virus.
For around three weeks after the WHO was notified of the outbreak on Dec. 31, 2019, the body repeated statements from Chinese officials that there was no evidence or a low risk of the virus being contagious. Research on initial Wuhan cases, however, show that the Chinese regime was aware the virus was spreading between humans well before it publicly confirmed human-to-human transmission on Jan. 20.
Meanwhile, WHO official Dr. Maria Van Kerkhov, a specialist on respiratory diseases, said on Monday that she suspected there may have been human-to-human transmission of the disease “right from the start” when the organization was first notified.
The senators asked the WHO to provide records relating to the pandemic, including data requested and received from the Chinese Communist Party relating to the virus.
“American taxpayers deserve answers about how their taxpayer dollars are spent, and whether Congress should continue to spend millions of dollars every year to fund the WHO,” the letter said.
The United States is the largest contributor to the WHO. In 2019, it contributed more than $400 million, almost double the second largest member state contribution.
“We can’t trust communist China, we’ve learned we can’t trust the WHO because they lie to us,” Scott told Politico on Monday. “Let’s create a new organization if this is important to us because it clearly didn’t work.”
Bowen Xiao contributed to this report.