In a Friday op-ed for The New York Times, Republican Rep. Will Hurd criticized Donald Trump’s decision to sever the United States’ ties with the World Health Organization (WHO) and said the move reflected “poor leadership.”
According to Hurd, Trump’s decision will have “devastating effects” on global health and — contrary to Trump’s agenda — help rather than harm the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Hurd argued that leaving the WHO, which Trump claims is controlled by China, sends a message to the world that it can’t count on the United States. The Texas congressman also claims the decision provides ammunition to China’s disinformation campaign that has attempted to show the U.S. as uncommitted to the international community.
“We can disagree with the leadership of an organization while supporting their mission. International coalitions are essential to fighting global challenges; we should be strengthening our alliances, not dismantling them.”
Hurd noted that the WHO has been integral in battling diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Without the help of U.S. leadership, Hurd claims the organization will be hindered in its preventative response to infections and illnesses that threaten the world.
Hurd acknowledged the dangers and failures of the CCP, including its misinformation campaigns linked to the spread of the coronavirus and said allies share the same concerns. He also pointed to his concerns with the WHO’s handling of the pandemic and its relationship to China, including the CCP’s alleged silencing of WHO researchers.
“Overall, ambassadors have made it clear their nations agree with us and are concerned,” Hurd said.
“We have yet to hear from any country that denies these issues outrightly.”
While concerns about the CCP’s purported control over the WHO remain, Hurd pushed for the U.S. to show global leadership and to join allies in seeking answers as opposed to giving up.
“Contained in my correspondence with foreign leaders, there’s international unity behind holding the W.H.O. accountable and improving it so that it’s more effective in the next major public health crisis,” Hurd concluded his piece, urging Trump to take such correspondence into account and reverse his decision.
Others who have expressed concern over the WHO’s alleged corruption and subservience to the CCP, such as author Matt Stoller, expressed doubt over Trump’s initial decision to cut funding to the organization.
As reported by BBC, the European Union on Saturday called on Trump to reconsider his decision and warned that it could hinder global efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, including the company’s effort to coordinate a vaccine. Before Trump’s decision, the U.S. was the WHO’s most significant contributor and provided approximately 15 percent of its budget in 2019.