Missouri U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt says he hopes President Donald Trump is delivering a message and is not serious about cutting off funding to the World Health Organization.
“Sending a signal to the WHO is fine, but the truth is the World Health Organization is not nearly what it should be without the United States,” Blunt tells Missourinet affiliate KFEQ in St. Joseph.
President Trump, a Republican, has announced he is instructing his administration to halt funding of the WHO while a review is conducted on its management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump says the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability. Trump says the review will be a very thorough investigation that should be complete in 60 to 90 days.
Trump has described the WHO in the past as “China-centric” and has criticized it for opposing travel restrictions from China, where the virus originated.
Blunt, also a Republican, says if the U.S. is not going to fund the WHO, it needs to find an alternative and he doesn’t know of any.
“So, I hope this is an important, but short-term coming together with a meeting of the minds,” Blunt says.
Blunt acknowledges the WHO made mistakes at the outset of the coronavirus and should be held accountable. But he insists the U.S. needs it.
“If the coronavirus has taught us anything it should have taught us that we are not isolated from the rest of the world no matter how well located we are.”
Blunt says he isn’t sure this is the right time to press the WHO.
“Well, whether they should be pressed right now or not, I don’t know,” Blunt says. “I think everybody is going to look at lots of things when this is over. I think the WHO was probably not insistent enough getting information from China, but we never seem to get very much information from China either, when we want it.”
Blunt says the time to assess the performance of the WHO is after the coronavirus pandemic peaks. Still, Blunt says he won’t defend the WHO and what it has done the past two to five years.
“But, I do know that a lot of things have happened during that period of time that would have created much greater danger for the United States if we hadn’t had this organization and they just simply are not who they need to be without our scientists, without our administrators, without what we bring to the table.”
The United States is the largest contributor to the WHO.
By Brent Martin of Missourinet affiliate KFEQ in St. Joseph
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