The White House and Senate Republicans are skeptical at best of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) newly-announced trip to investigate the origins of the coronavirus in China, the Daily Caller has learned.
The WHO will lead a six-week investigation into the pandemic’s origins in Wuhan, China, starting the first week of January. A senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration described the investigation as “too late” and “ridiculous,” given the WHO’s willingness to relay the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) misinformation on the virus in the early days of the pandemic.
The team of researchers will arrive in Wuhan well over a year after COVID-19 first emerged in the city in November 2019. Critically, the team won’t be able to gather its own samples and will instead rely on human and animal samples gathered by Chinese scientists, according to Reuters.
Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse expressed skepticism that the investigation would uncover anything more than a best-case scenario for the CCP.
“I’m going to take a wild guess that they haven’t asked Taiwan to lead the investigation,” Sasse told the Daily Caller on Wednesday. “At the beginning of the year, when the Chinese Communist Party said ‘jump!’ the World Health Organization asked, ‘how high?’ The WHO has a lot of work to do to rebuild trust and they ought to know that a sugar coated China report isn’t going to get the job done.”
Sasse has been highly critical of both China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as well as its extensive human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is also skeptical of the WHO effort, citing legislation he proposed in April to investigate the WHO’s role in spreading CCP misinformation, according to his office.
The WHO has faced criticism from U.S. lawmakers and global leaders for spreading the CCP’s misinformation on coronavirus cases and deaths in the early days of the pandemic. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also delayed declaring COVID-19 a pandemic by one day after reportedly receiving calls from Chinese officials pressuring him to do so.
The CCP has repeatedly attempted to shed blame for the pandemic, making baseless allegations that the disease originated in Italy or even with U.S. soldiers traveling in China.
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee released an audit in September that found both China and the WHO covered up data regarding the pandemic. It alleged that China imprisoned journalists and destroyed data on the pandemic that could have been critical for helping the global community prepare.
“From the early stages of the outbreak, the WHO, under Director-General Tedros’ leadership, parroted and upheld as inviolable truth statements from the CCP,” the committee report read. “An examination of their public statements, including the praise heaped on the CCP’s handling of the pandemic, reveal a disturbing willingness to ignore science and alternative credible sources.”