Pompeo Slams ‘Abject Failure’ of WHO COVID Response: ‘It Had One Job . . . and It Didn’t Get It Done’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, D.C., March 15, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo singled out the World Health Organization (WHO) for being unable to halt the coronavirus global pandemic, saying “it had one job, to protect the world from a pandemic, and it didn’t get it done.”

Pompeo, speaking to the Washington Examiner, called the WHO’s response an “abject failure” and said the virus “makes clear that international organizations aren’t necessarily good just because they’re a multilateral organization.” He pointed to how the Chinese Communist Party had coerced the WHO “to be quiet about the scope and nature of this pandemic.”

Earlier this month, Pompeo urged WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom to include Taiwan in this week’s World Health Assembly (WHA), but the WHO said it could not because of “divergent views,” after China said it “deplores and opposes” including Taipei in the gathering. Taiwan said in March that the WHO had ignored its December warnings that human-to-human transmission of coronavirus was possible.

WHO officials, including Tedros, have previously praised China for its response to the virus. “China is doing the right things, and China is responding in a massive way,” Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, said in late January. “We’ve seen no obvious lack of transparency.”

But President Trump has slammed the WHO for being “very China centric,” and halted U.S. funding to the WHO last month. On Sunday, Axios reported that Trump intended to make the total funding cut permanent, after being on the verge of announcing that the U.S. would “agree to pay up to what China pays in assessed contributions” to the WHO. Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, who broke news Friday of the potential reinstatement, slammed the move.

Tedros said in April that “the world should have listened to the WHO” about coronavirus, adding that “we advised the whole world to implement a comprehensive public health approach — find, test, contact tracing and so on. The countries who followed that are in a better position than others.”

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