Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDemocrats warn against pausing WHO aid: Coronavirus not time to ‘upend our relationship’Hillicon Valley: Facebook launches portal for coronavirus information | EU sees spike in Russian misinformation on outbreak | Senate Dem bill would encourage mail-in voting | Lawmakers question safety of Google virus websiteDemocratic senators press Google over privacy of coronavirus screening siteMORE (N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday called for information on the Trump administrations communications with the World Health Organization (WHO) early on during the coronavirus pandemic.
Menendez wrote in his letter that President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN demands Trump campaign stop using ‘distorted’ clip from network in adSchumer: Fauci may testify before Senate next weekFauci dismisses ‘circular argument’ coronavirus originated in Chinese labMORE did not declare a national emergency until March despite warnings in early January from the WHO, an organization Trump has attacked and moved to defund as the U.S. outbreak has grown.
As Congress bolsters the U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic and prepares against any future waves of infection, it also must assess the actions the Trump administration, China, and the international community took that helped or hampered our initial response, he wrote. We must have all the facts about U.S. government engagement, communication, and information-sharing with its international partners during the early phases of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In the letter to U.S. Ambassador the United Nations Andrew Bremberg, Menendez called for details on when the Brembergs office first communicated with both the White House and the WHO about the outbreak in Wuhan, China, as well as what information the mission communicated to the State Department.
Menendez also asked for further details on the decision process to halt U.S. contributions to the WHO and what role Bremberg played in the funding review. The New Jersey Democrat asked for information on any analysis Brembergs office conducted on how the funding cut could affect the WHOs coronavirus response.
Menendezs letter notes that the administration is reportedly considering carveouts for polio and coronavirus in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and asks whether any other exceptions are under consideration.
Trump announced at least a 60-day suspension of U.S. contributions to the WHO on April 14, accusing the group of serious missteps in the early days of the pandemic and a pro-China bias more generally.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee has already announced an investigation into the funds suspension.
The Administrations 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, Chairman Elliott Engel (D-N.Y.) wrote in an April 27 letter.