- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2020

President Trump said Wednesday his administration is developing “very distinct” recommendations to hold the World Health Organization and China accountable for the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

“We’re not happy about it, and we are by far the largest contributor to WHO,” Mr. Trump told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Louisiana’s governor. “They misled us. They’re literally a pipe organ for China.”

The president has instructed U.S. intelligence agencies to look into whether the WHO and China withheld information about the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.

“It’s coming in, I’m getting pieces already,” Mr. Trump said of the probe. “There’s nothing positive about what happened in China.”

The president said he will be coming out soon with a recommendation about the WHO, “with China to follow.”

Mr. Trump reiterated that the disease “could have been stopped at the source” in Wuhan, China, late last year. Since reaching the U.S. in January, the virus has infected more than 1 million Americans and claimed the lives of more than 58,000.

“They should have been able to stop it,” the president said of WHO and the Chinese government. “And then why did China allow planes to fly out, but not into China? Planes were coming out of Wuhan, and going all over the world. They were going to Italy, very big time to Italy. But they’re not going into China. What was that all about? We’re not happy with it.”

Mr. Trump noted that he wrapped up a trade deal at the White House in January with Chinese officials as the crisis was worsening in China. But he said Chinese officials didn’t warn him.

“You would have thought that somebody could have said, ‘Hey.’ They could have stopped it at the source,” Mr. Trump said. “They didn’t have to let airplanes fly out, and loads of people come out.”

The president banned travelers from China on Jan. 31, except for thousands of U.S. citizens returning.

The president already has suspended U.S. contributions to the WHO, saying he wanted a review of the organization’s actions at the start of the pandemic. The U.S. contributes about $400 million per year to the WHO.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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