**FILE** Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (International Telecommunication Union via Wikimedia Commons)
**FILE** Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (International Telecommunication Union via Wikimedia Commons)


President Trump has found a Black man other than former President Barack Obama to point the finger at for his and his administration’s failings.

Trump is now attacking Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Ethiopian-born head of the World Health Organization, one of the go-to organizations dispensing important data concerning the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. is a major WHO funder, and Trump has cut the Geneva, Switzerland-based organization’s funding, charging that the WHO “really blew it,” being persuaded by China to downplay the coronavirus outbreak.

“They could have called it much earlier,” Trump said at a coronavirus task force briefing Tuesday evening. “When they call every shot wrong, that’s no good.”

He charged that the WHO was very “China-centric.”

“Fortunately, I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on…Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?” Trump posted in an April 7 tweet.

Nearly 40,000 people have flown from China to the United States since the president imposed travel restrictions between the two countries.

During a virtual news briefing, Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said it wasn’t the appropriate time to cut funding during the ongoing pandemic. Dr. Ghebreyesus warned Trump not to politicize the pandemic.

“If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don’t want any more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tedros released a timeline on WHO letterhead. The timeline begins on Dec. 31, 2019, when China reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province and the last date is March 18.

The most important date is Jan. 30, when the WHO declared the coronavirus a “public health emergency of international concern. The director-general accepted the recommendation and declared a novel coronavirus outbreak.”

On the other hand, President Trump confidently predicted the coronavirus did not present a serious threat to the U.S., assuring Americans: “It’s going to have very good ending.”

Prior to Jan. 30, the WHO issued dire warnings.

On Jan. 1, 2020, the WHO had set up the Incident Management Support Team across three levels of the organization: headquarters, regional headquarters, and country-level putting the organization on emergency status for dealing with the viral outbreak.

From Feb. 16-24, a WHO-China joint mission, which included participation from the U.S., Canada, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Russia and Singapore, spent time in Beijing and also traveling to Wuhan where they talked to health workers and scientists. The joint mission released a report: //www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronavirus/who-china-joint-mission-covid-19-final-report.pdf.

On Jan. 5, 2020, WHO published in the first issue of Disease Outbreak News reporting on the new virus. This is a flagship publication that was given to the scientific and public health community as well as to the global media.

There also is another racial component here.

Dr. Ghebreyesus charged that Taiwan engaged in a racist smear campaign against him because he is black, an accusation the country’s foreign minister has denied.

He does, however, have strong support from Africa’s heads of state. Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa, reaffirmed Africa’s support of WHO.

Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde said, “Our global priority is to save lives. WHO under Dr. Tedros’ effective leadership, is delivering on its mandate at a time we need them most.”

Tedros also has the support of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the White House’s point man on COVID-19.

Trump, however, continues the game of shifting the blame on black men. He started blaming Obama for every Oval Office failing, and he hasn’t stopped.

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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