House Republican Conference chair Liz Cheney said Thursday that the World Health Organization head “absolutely should go,” arguing that having a Chinese Communist Party “puppet” in charge is “costing lives around the world.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has come under heavy U.S. criticism for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, including from President Trump, who threatened Tuesday to cut off U.S. funding to the UN agency.
“[W]e’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,” Ms. Cheney told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in a transcript. “And in order for that organization to play anywhere near the role we need it to play, it needs a new director, certainly.”
Mr. Tedros, an Ethiopian microbiologist who holds a doctorate in community health, pushed back Wednesday against those “politicizing this virus,” saying, “If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.”
Sen. Martha McSally, Arizona Republican, called last week for Mr. Tedros to resign, while Sen. Rick Scott, Florida Republican, said Congress should investigate when it returns the WHO response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Critics have cited WHO’s Jan. 14 statement saying that initial investigations “conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission,” despite evidence from Taiwanese researchers indicating otherwise.
Ms. Cheney cited WHO’s pushback on travel bans after Mr. Trump imposed travel restrictions on China in late January.
“With respect to the WHO, 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,” she said.