- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 23, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. may “never return” to funding the World Health Organization because of the way it operates, including the COVID-19 crisis.

And, in a second demand, Mr. Pompeo told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham Wednesday night that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom may have to step down before Washington restarts suspended contributions of nearly $1 billion of WHO’s 2.4 billion annual budget.

Asked about such a demand, Mr. Pompeo said, “I think that’s right, Laura. Even more than that, it may be the case that the United States can never return to underwriting, having U.S. taxpayer dollars go to the WHO. We may need to have even bolder change than that.”

President Trump cut off funds after what the administration believes were a series of WHO actions that dovetailed with communist China misleading the world on the spread of coronavirus in the city of Wuhan and elsewhere in the country.

The Chinese Communist Party asserted in January the virus was not contagious, a claim the U.S. views as a lie. Yet, the WHO endorsed the claim before the world. WHO also declared as late as Jan. 23 that what became the COVID-19 disease was not a global health emergency.

After China condemned Mr. Trump decisions to restrict Chinese travel into this country, Mr. Tedros also criticized the ban.

Mr. Tedros, a microbiologist, is a former cabinet member in Ethiopia’s leftist regime who sought a “strategic partnership” with China shortly after taking control of WHO in 2017.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pompeo said the Chinese communists still will not let American experts into China to exam a laboratory in Wuhan researching bat-carried viruses. The U.S. suspects the virus in its natural state may have been carried outside by a lab worker who infected the city. Mr. Pompeo also said American scientists need to inspect the wild meat market in Wuhan which the Chinese government initially said was the source of coronavirus carried by horseshoe bats.

“We’re still trying to get that information,” he said.

Ms. Ingraham played a clip of former Secretary of State John Kerry saying the Trump administration needs to cooperate with China on issues such as cyber warfare.

As a matter of state policy, the Chinese government repeatedly hacks innocent Americans to steal their personal data, including a massive attack in 2015 on the Office of Personal Management that netted 24 million personnel files.

Government officials also say China military hackers steal Americans’ intellectual property. The Justice Department has indicted China’s giant telecommunications firm, Huawei, for such criminal acts.

Mr. Pompeo said that Mr. Trump abandoned President’s Obama’s soft approach to China.

He said, “President Trump has taken a fundamentally different view with China than President Obama did and Secretary Kerry did, whether it was the unfair trade relationship the President is attempting to untangle, whether it’s being serious with China that says when you conduct cyber attacks against us we’re not going to tolerate that. And here, even in this, we’d love to find a way to cooperate with the Chinese, frankly, on all of those things. But it takes a partner who is willing to do that. And as you described, the biggest threat isn’t our ability to work with China on cyber; it’s to make sure that we have the resources available to protect ourselves from Chinese cyber attacks.”

• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at rscarborough@washingtontimes.com.

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