BISMARCK, ND — On Tuesday, President Trump said he would unilaterally withhold funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), despite the fact that Congress is responsible for passing the federal budget. On the same day, Sen. Kevin Cramer signed on to a partisan letter criticizing the WHO.
Both actions ignore the administration’s slow and chaotic response to the COVID-19 pandemic that only came months after it became clear the virus was an international threat. These actions are compounded by the administration’s earlier decisions to gut investments in domestic and global public health.
The president eliminated an early warning program and cut a key Center for Disease Control position in China that could have given the U.S. valuable lead time to react as COVID-19 broke loose. He then ignored the pandemic response plans in place since the Bush administration. The president had months to act. He waited until halfway through March.
Dem-NPL Chair Kylie Oversen said:
“There may be legitimate questions for the WHO, but unilaterally gutting the budget of a worldwide public health institution in the middle of a public health crisis fails every test of common sense. More than 25,000 Americans are dead and millions are out of work. Rather than address this crisis, the president and Kevin Cramer are playing a game of ‘you started it.’
People across the globe are working together, sharing information, and trading resources to stop this pandemic and save lives. Kevin Cramer, Kelly Armstrong, John Hoeven, and the president of the United States should be similarly and singularly focused.”