Connect with us

Threatened

Trump Just Threatened to Withdraw From the WHO Unless ‘Major’ Changes Are Made

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.On the day that China pledged $2 billion to the World Health Organization and announced the country’s coronavirus vaccines would be freely available to all, U.S. President Donald Trump declared war on the global health authority, threatening to withdraw permanently unless “major” changes…

Trump Just Threatened to Withdraw From the WHO Unless ‘Major’ Changes Are Made

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.

On the day that China pledged $2 billion to the World Health Organization and announced the country’s coronavirus vaccines would be freely available to all, U.S. President Donald Trump declared war on the global health authority, threatening to withdraw permanently unless “major” changes are made.

He just forgot to mention what those changes should be.

In a four-page letter addressed to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus — and posted on the president’s Twitter account late Monday night — Trump excoriated the organization for what he sees as a series of failures to prevent the coronavirus from spreading globally and for an “alarming lack of independence” from China.

Trump, who suspended U.S. funding for the WHO last month, said that without “major substantive improvements” to the way the organization operates in the next 30 days, the U.S. would make the funding withdrawal permanent, and “reconsider our membership in the organization” altogether.

Trump, who called the WHO a “puppet of China” earlier on Monday, did not outline what changes he wants the WHO to make.

Trump’s assertion that the WHO and China are to blame for the outbreak is widely seen as an attempt to deflect attention from his own administration’s failings to adequately deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus has killed more than 90,000 Americans so far.

The attack on the WHO is also part of an escalating battle with China that some experts believe will end in a new Cold War between the two nations.

“I think the two countries are heading in the direction of a new cold war,” Tong Zhao, a China expert at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing, told VICE News.

China, on the other hand, believes Trump’s accusations are simply a way to deflect criticism of his administration’s response to the pandemic.

“It is futile to try to mislead the public in this specious way, discredit China’s prevention and control efforts, and shirk its own failure to prevent and control the pandemic,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said during a press conference Tuesday.

Trump’s letter includes a laundry list of criticisms of the WHO, many of which have been made previously by Trump or members of his administration. During a speech at the WHO’s World Health Assembly meeting on Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar accused the organization of letting COVID-19 spin “out of control” at the cost of “many lives.”

In the letter, the president criticizes the WHO for praising China’s response to the outbreak, even though he himself was effusive in his praise of Chinese President Xi Jinping back in January, before the outbreak spread rapidly across the U.S.

READ: Here’s how China is rewriting the history of the coronavirus pandemic to make itself the hero

Trump also compared Ghebreyesus negatively to Gro Harlem Brundtland, the WHO chief during the 2003 SARS outbreak, saying the current WHO chief could have saved “many lives” if he’d taken similar action, including imposing travel restrictions into and out of Wuhan, and being more critical of China.

The WHO has yet to respond to Trump’s letter, but it has in the past strongly denied accusations it failed to heed early warning signs about the threat of the coronavirus.

As the U.S. seeks to alienate itself from another global institution, China continues to fill the position once occupied by the U.S. during times of global crises.

On Monday, Xi spoke to the WHA meeting and pledged $2 billion to the WHO over the next two years to fight the pandemic. He also announced that any vaccines developed in China would be available for anyone to use.

READ: China has a whole new conspiracy theory about the origins of coronavirus

Conversely, the U.S. is set to distance itself from a WHA resolution that will give poor countries the right to ignore patents in order to gain access to a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

But China experts see Beijing’s pledges of aid and financial support as a way for it to deflect criticism from its own failings in its early response to the coronavirus. Beijing silenced government critics and doctors who attempted to warn the public about the outbreak in Wuhan.

The WHO has backed a call from more than 120 of its members for an independent investigation into the origins of the outbreak, and while Xi also pledged support for the probe, he said Monday it should only be done when the pandemic is under control — which could take years.

Listen and subscribe: Via Apple Podcasts | Via Spotify | Via Stitcher or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

Cover: President Donald Trump gestures as he leaves after a meeting with restaurant industry executives about the coronavirus response, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, May 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Continue Reading…

protesters

Sen. Rand Paul threatened by protesters after the RNC

An angry mob attacked Sen. Rand Paul and his wife as they were leaving the White House following the end of the Republican National Convention early Friday, and demonstrators harassed and threatened other supporters of President Trump as they left the event. Video shows Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, and his wife Kelley being confronted by…

Sen. Rand Paul threatened by protesters after the RNC

An angry mob attacked Sen. Rand Paul and his wife as they were leaving the White House following the end of the Republican National Convention early Friday, and demonstrators harassed and threatened other supporters of President Trump as they left the event.

Video shows Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, and his wife Kelley being confronted by a mob of Black Lives Matter activists who shoved police escorting them out of the RNC conference. Protesters knocked one of the officers, who had a bicycle, into Mr. Paul.

“It was horrific,” Mr. Paul said on “Fox & Friends. “These people were unhinged. I whispered to the policeman, ‘They know who I am. You have to get reinforcements. It’s going to get worse.’ “

The lawmaker thanked District of Columbia police on Twitter “for literally saving our lives from a crazed mob.”

Mr. Paul said Secret Service eventually sent them in a car to the Trump International Hotel, where they planned to take another car back to their original hotel.

“As we got close to [the hotel] nobody would let us through,” he said.

Protesters were chanting at Mr. Paul, “Say her name,” a reference to Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in Kentucky during a no-knock raid at her home earlier this year. Mr. Paul has sponsored legislation, named for the victim, that would ban the use of no-knock warrants.

“They were also shouting ‘Say her name’ — Breonna Taylor,” he said. “You couldn’t reason with this mob, but I’m actually the author of the Breonna Taylor law to end ‘no-knock’ raids. The irony is lost on these idiots.”

The Kentucky senator and his wife weren’t the only guests at the RNC who were harassed and threatened as they left the event overnight Thursday. A large crowd that included Black Lives Matter activists had gathered near the White House on Thursday night, trying to drown out the president’s South Lawn acceptance speech with firecrackers, loud music and airhorns.

Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, said he and others who attended the event were fearful as they tried to leave the White House. He said he and his wife were able to get a ride with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who has a security detail in his post as the top House Republican.

“I just asked Kevin, I said ‘Hey, can we just jump in with you, pile into your Suburban and get back to Capitol Hill?’ ” Mr. Jordan said on “Fox & Friends. “So we were fortunate. I was nervous to walk out, when particularly when had Polly with me. … And this is scary. Rand’s right.”

Mr. Paul said the episode is an example of why Democrat Joseph R. Biden shouldn’t be elected president, or America will turn into Portland, Oregon, scene of months of violent street protests.

“This mob is their voters. This is the new Democrat Party,” Mr. Paul said.

Video showed activists harassing and confronting people leaving the White House. One man was punched in the back of the head and knocked to the ground by a mob.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Continue Reading…

Continue Reading

Trending