In a letter late last night, President Trump threatened to permanently pull U.S. funding for the World Health Organization (WHO). Hardly surprising, as he has spent weeks expressing his disdain for the WHO and his rhetoric has trickled down to allies and lackeys — including Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar.
Azar laid out many of Trump’s arguments for wanting to cut the funding in his remarks to the World Health Assembly yesterday. The trouble is, the Trump administration is guilty of nearly all the same things with which Trump allegedly takes issue…
AZAR SAID: “We must be frank about one of the primary reasons this outbreak spun out of control: There was a failure by this organization to obtain the information that the world needed. And that failure cost many lives.”
MEANWHILE: The Trump administration’s failure to increase the nation’s testing capacity has severely hindered its ability to accurately gauge the situation in the U.S. now with regard to testing and cases. The administration also held back expert guidance intended to help states reopen more safely for being “overly prescriptive.”
- AP: Trump administration buries detailed CDC advice on reopening
- CNN: Trump repeatedly praised China’s response to coronavirus in February
- BuzzFeed News: Doctors And Nurses Say More People Are Dying Of COVID-19 In The US Than We Know
- Trump Tweet: “CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart.”
AZAR SAID: “WHO must change, and it must become far more transparent and far more accountable.”
MEANWHILE: The Trump administration has shelled out billions of dollars meant for small businesses to huge corporations and made multi-million dollar deals for PPE production with unvetted manufacturers who failed to come through — all with almost no accountability or oversight.
- NPR: Some Not-So-Small Companies Are Getting Small-Business Loans Under PPP
- New York Times: Large, Troubled Companies Got Bailout Money in Small-Business Loan Program
- New York Magazine: Trump on GOP’s $500 Billion Slush Fund: ‘I’ll Be the Oversight’
- Washington Post: A contractor promised FEMA 10 million masks for $55 million. It did not deliver.
AZAR SAID: “that the U.S. supports an independent review of ‘every aspect of WHO’s response to the pandemic.’” (NPR)
MEANWHILE: A number of whistleblowers or watchdogs have been fired, reassigned, or felt their careers threatened by Trump and other administration officials when they stated facts that the President disagreed with or filed complaints against elements of the nation’s COVID-19 response.
- The Intercept: Trump Fires Inspector General Ahead Of Damning Whistleblower Complaint About Bogus Coronavirus Cures
- Forbes: Federal Vaccine Official Alleges Cronyism, Says Ousted For Raising Concerns Over Coronavirus Response
- CNN: State Department inspector general becomes the latest watchdog fired by Trump
- Washington Post: The key political fight of this era: Trump vs. accountability
AZAR SAID: “We saw that WHO failed at its core mission of information sharing and transparency…”
MEANWHILE: The Trump administration repeatedly ignored warnings it received from intelligence and health officials and disregarded guidance from existing pandemic response playbooks in responding to COVID-19.
- NPR: Trump Received Intelligence Briefings On Coronavirus Twice In January
- Politico: Trump team failed to follow NSC’s pandemic playbook
- CNN: Navarro warned White House in late-January memo that coronavirus could become ‘full-blown pandemic’
- The New York Times: He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus