Representative Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) slammed the World Health Organization’s director general Tedros Adhanom for being “a puppet of the Chinese Communist Party” over the organization’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
Cheney, speaking to radio host Hugh Hewitt, cited Tedros’s kowtowing to Chinese authority in the wake of the outbreak, despite multiple reports detailing how Chinese government officials failed in their response.
“The fact that the head of the WHO was unwilling to say, for example, yes, it’s right to cut off travel from China, was unwilling to acknowledge that there was, you know, community transmission, has been touting the Chinese Communist Party line from the beginning of this, tells you that he absolutely should go,” Cheney stated. “And again, you know, we’re in a situation where having somebody who is a puppet of the Chinese Communist Party running the WHO is costing lives around the world. And in order for that organization to play anywhere near the role we need it to play, it needs a new director, certainly.”
Beijing silenced Wuhan laboratories which had realized in December that the coronavirus was related to the deadly SARS virus from 2002-2003, and continued to claim that coronavirus could not be transmitted from human-to-human for weeks after evidence of that fact emerged.
The WHO parroted Beijing’s line on January 14, tweeting that there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.” The WHO also defended China’s multiple drastic alterations to its coronavirus case count, and has not criticized Beijing for refusing to count asymptomatic cases until April 1. Multiple reports have detailed how China backed Tedros’s bid for WHO director general in 2017, after he had worked closely with Beijing as Ethiopia’s health minister.
On Wednesday, Tedros defended his leadership and the response to the virus, warning that U.S. lawmakers were “politicizing” the pandemic.
“Please, unity at national level. No using COVID for political points,” he said. “And then second, honest solidarity at global level and honest leadership from the U.S. and China . . . We shouldn’t waste time pointing fingers. We need time to unite.”
Tedros also added that he was being personally attacked with “racist comments.”
“I can tell you personal attacks that have been going on for more than two, three months. Abuses, or racist comments, giving me names, black or Negro. I’m proud of being black, proud of being Negro,” he stated. “I don’t care, to be honest . . . even death threats. I don’t give a damn.”
President Trump hammered the WHO on Tuesday, tweeting that the organization “really blew it.”
The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2020
Cheney is not the only lawmaker to single out Tedros for criticism. Last week, Senator Martha McSally (R., Ariz.) called him “a communist” and said Tedros “needs to step down.”