The World Health Organization has been in the news recently. One reason is because the WHO is a crucial worldwide organization in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The WHO has long played an essential role in combating diseases such as smallpox, polio, leprosy, HIV/AIDS and Ebola. The WHO has also contributed to dramatic reductions in malnutrition and infant/maternal mortality.
Another reason the WHO has been in the news is because President Trump has announced he has halted all U.S. funding to the organization, accusing the WHO of “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus” and says it “must be held accountable.”
So what are the facts? A primary issue is a mixture of statements issued by the WHO on Jan. 14 which included that “Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.” It soon became evident that Chinese authorities were withholding information and the WHO reversed itself on Jan. 20. Meanwhile, President Trump continued to issue a series of statements both praising the Chinese and downplaying the severity of the situation for several more weeks.
Both the WHO and Trump made mistakes along the way but, since our President never admits to a mistake, scapegoats must be found and punished. Making a scapegoat of the WHO and cutting funding is foolish and potentially deadly. The funding halt is opposed by the conservative-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Medical Association called it “a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating COVID-19 easier.”
So where did our representative Elise Stefanik come down on this issue? On April 15, she announced her support for the WHO funding halt. Harvard-educated Stefanik use to pride herself on her supposed independence, but not any more. Donald Trump might occasionally get something right, but here he is dead wrong, and Stefanik is smart enough to know it. If she can’t speak the truth when Trump is at his worst then she has lost the right to represent us. We can hold her accountable come November.