Editorial

EDITORIAL: Trump Finds a Scapegoat for COVID-19 — What’s Needed is a Recovery Plan

President Trump recently made good on his threat to withhold funding from the World Health Organization (WHO) over its actions taken and approach to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Instead of looking toward developing a recovery plan which will be critical to the U.S. and other countries as the world returns to some semblance of normal once the pandemic is over, Trump has chosen to point fingers, deflecting attention from his administration and his earlier perspective that the coronavirus was nothing more than a “hoax.”

The president, we fear, has moved America in the wrong direction with his decision to target the health organization, laying the blame for the spread of COVID-19 in their lap. As he tweeted several days ago: “The WHO really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look.”

Once again and as no surprise, the president has chosen to politicize COVID — a conclusion which WHO Director-General Ghebreyesus announced in response to Trump’s threat last week which has now come to pass. Trump wants to review what he describes as “mismanagement” and withhold what amounts to 15 percent of the organization’s approach, taking a similar approach that he followed in 2017 when the U.S. cut $285 million from its funding to the United Nations. he U.S. cut $285 million from its funding to the United Nations. The U.S. contributed more than $400 million to the WHO last year — the largest donor of any country toward the organization’s $6 billion budget in 2018-2019.

Ironically, while the U.S. enjoys its self-described position as the “leader of the free world,” we don’t seem willing to pay the price for being the leader or chose policies that help us stand out as a leader more concerned for the well-being of the world’s population instead of just America’s citizens.

We cannot say for certainty whether the WHO should be held accountable for the spread of this life-threatening pandemic or not. Maybe Trump has a point. But the real issue with hundreds of thousands of deaths, critically-ill citizens and an economy boarding on implosion is not who’s to blame.

What we need from our commander-in-chief is his total focus to developing a recovering plan for the future — for the time when social distancing mandates will be rescinded, when businesses reopen, when education moves from virtual instruction to classrooms. We will need to figure out how to care for those whose health will forever be comprised by the coronavirus. We will need a plan for a very new world.

There’s no time to waste pointing fingers. And given the number of deaths already recorded or those that we’ll see in the coming months, does it really matter?

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