Donald Trump to set up WHO rival after pulling funding over China bias claim

The proposal has been floated in Washington by the director of the influential Democracy Institute thinktank Patrick Basham in the wake of fury over the WHO’s handling of the coronavirus.

Mr Basham, who is British but based in the USA, started developing the proposal in the aftermath of President Trump pulling the US’s funding of the WHO.

At the time the President referenced concerns that the WHO had failed in its duty to prepare the world for the coronavirus outbreak and been too close to China in covering up its danger.

He told a press briefing: “They’ve been wrong about a lot of things and they had a lot of information early and they didn’t want to – they seemed to be very China centric.”

The proposal has also begun to win support in other countries with the french foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian appeared to support an idea to an alternative to the WHO last week.

He said: “It would be desirable to constitute, on the model of the IPCC [Group of experts ¬ intergovernmental on the evolution of the climate], a high council of the human and animal health, which could say science, on the basis of the work of experts recognized.”

Mr Basham has had private conversations with representations of the White House and is receiving vocal support for his idea of a rival to the WHO from Republicans in Congress on Capitol Hill.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Express, Mr Basham said: “I have had some informal private communication [with the Trump administration]. I have had some positive vibes in people saying it is an interesting idea. 

“It is outside the box and alternative way.

Given the politics right now these are things which have to go up the food chain. So the administration people I have dealt with are very circumspect for obvious reasons.”

He accused the WHO of being “worse than useless” in the current pandemic and that “since Trump has shone a light on it” the conversation in America has changed about the WHO.

He also noted a report in 2018 which showed that the WHO spent more money on executive travel than it did combined on programs to tackle malaria, AIDS, cholera and tuberculosis.

He went on: “I know there is an appetite for truly doing something rather than just talking about reform.

“This is not just a question of another UN agency has wasted money. It has actually caused harm. It has worked in tandem of the principle causer of this problem [the Chinese government].”

Since US funding was withdrawn front the WHO, the UK has become its biggest financial backer and together Britain and America accounted for a third of its £2.1 billion budget.

This means that British and American government money would be enough to fund a rival, but mr Basham believes that private, corporate and philanthropic donations would provide the cash needed.

“Jack Dorsey from Twitter he announced that he personally was going to donate 1 billion US dollars to the anti-pandemic cause.

“There are many others who have made pronouncements about very large sums.

“There is lots of money. People don’t have to be persuaded to ti into their own pocket, they are doing it. What better cause than the one being on offer?

“I think it could end up with public/private partnership.”

He went on: “I think that an American government or privately funded alternative to the WHO would have to do the job it was funded to do.

“There would be a way of reaching out and touching these people if they failed and failed miserably again.

“Also given how someone like myself views competition positively, working this would have two potential benefits regarding the WHO itself. Either the WHO would be seen for what I believe it to be – a failed agency which should wither away. Or the WHO would get its act together and actually be a better public health agency for the world.

“If that happened then that’s a victory.”

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