Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Monday that if he is elected, the funding spigot for the World Health Organization will be reopened.
President Donald Trump froze funding for the WHO in mid-April for at least 60 days to review the organization’s involvement in a possible cover-up, along with China, early in the year that may have hidden the full extent of the danger of the coronavirus.
Biden was asked during an interview Monday with CBS Miami whether he would restore the WHO’s money.
“Yes I will,” Biden said.
“But I’ll also insist that we have, do what we were doing before. We had set up a pandemic office within the White House, President Obama.
“We had CDC, the folks for the Centers for Disease Control, forward stationed in other countries to anticipate when we might see a virus coming, a pandemic coming, because there are gonna be more of these. So I would get much more engaged in the world,” the former vice president said.
“We can’t step back. If in fact, for example, we solve the problem in the United States of America, and you don’t solve in the other parts of the world, you know what’s going to happen. We’re going to have travel bans, we’re not going to do have economic intercourse around the world,” he said.
“Look, when America goes alone — when America is first, it’s America alone,” Biden said.
“The idea that we’re stepping back from the world leadership that we in fact engaged in during the virus and the pandemics in the past, it is leaving it leaderless as a matter of fact,” Biden said. “And so we have to get back in the game.”
Biden’s campaign website affirms his support for the WHO.
On the site, Biden calls for the creation of what he calls a global health emergency board.
“The Board will convene leadership of the United States, our G7 partners, and other countries in support of the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure a coordinated health and economic response globally, especially with respect to vulnerable countries,” the site said.
That the board would dance to the WHO’s tune is made clear in the proposal that “the Board would be triggered by a public health emergency of international concern declaration by the WHO.”
House Democrats have indicated their support of the WHO through a letter sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel signaled the intention to launch yet another investigation of the Trump administration, this time to target the decision to suspend funding for the WHO.
“President Trump’s decision to halt funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) in the midst of a global pandemic is counterproductive and puts lives at risk,” the letter said. “Attacking the WHO, rather than the COVID-19 outbreak, will only worsen an already dire situation by undermining one of our key tools to fight the spreading disease.
“The Administration’s explanation for this decision is inadequate, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs is determined to understand the reasons behind this self-defeating withdrawal from global leadership.”
The letter said that “cutting the WHO’s funding while the world confronts the COVID-19 tragedy is not the answer. We are facing a global health emergency, requiring a comprehensive effort.
“The WHO has played an essential role coordinating among governments around the world, and was quick to declare the spread of COVID-19 a health emergency and a pandemic. The WHO’s efforts to help slow the spread and flatten the curve have been invaluable.”
Republicans, however, have been critical of the body.
“You could bring oversight back to look at the WHO and this current administration, the WHO, is acting not like the World Health Organization, but more like the Wuhan Health Organization,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a Sunday interview, according to Fox News.