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The decision has already drawn considerable criticism, with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres saying Now is the time for unity and Dr Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association, calling it a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating Covid-19 easier.”The move sends the wrong message during the middle of a pandemic,” agreed Dr Amesh Adalja of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security, putting it mildly.On Capitol Hill, the response was far stronger.
“With each passing day of this worsening crisis, the president is showing us his political playbook: blame the WHO, blame China, blame his political opponents, blame his predecessors – ”do whatever it takes to deflect from the fact that his administration mismanaged this crisis and it’€™s now costing thousands of American lives,” said Eliot Engel, Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Senator Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the move “makes as much sense as cutting off ammunition to an ally as the enemy closes in.”
“The White House knows that it grossly mishandled this crisis from the beginning, ignoring multiple warnings and squandering valuable time, dismissing medical science, comparing Covid-19 to the common cold, and saying ‘everything will be fine,'” he added. “Not wanting to take responsibility as the deaths continue to mount, he blames others.”
Senator Chris Murphy said the call was a “grade school caliber attempt to deflect attention from his China fawning and his ongoing negligence since.”