According to the Lancet, the Trump administration fabricated a report in a letter threatening to defund the U.N. health agency.
On Tuesday, one of the world's top medical journals said that Donald Trump lied in recent letter to the World Health Organization, which threatened to permanently withhold funding from the agency.
The letter, sent Monday, stated that a review of the organization's response to the coronavirus crisis found that it "consistently ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier, including reports from the Lancet medical journal."
The letter also stated that the Trump administration would withdraw its support of the organization if it did not "commit to major substantial improvements in the next 30 days."
However, contrary to the claim in the letter, the Lancet did not publish anything about the new coronavirus in December 2019.
Trump's claim "is factually incorrect," the Lancet, one of the oldest and most respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, wrote in a statement on Tuesday.
The medical journal noted that the first report it published on the new coronavirus was on Jan. 24. It also said Trump's allegations against WHO are "serious and damaging to efforts to strengthen international cooperation to control this pandemic," and that any review of the global response to the virus should be "based on a factually accurate account of what took place in December and January."
On Friday, the Lancet published an op-ed that said Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis was so poor that Americans "must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics."
Trump has spent weeks attacking WHO's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump said on April 7 that the organization "called it wrong." Trump added that it "should have known" about the virus.
"And they probably did know," he added, implying a cover-up.
Later in April, Trump threatened to cut off funding to the organization, alleging it was too closely aligned with China, despite the fact that Trump himself praised China's handling of the crisis in January and February.
Republicans in Congress have followed Trump's lead, attacking China and WHO while remaining silent on Trump's slow and chaotic response to the crisis.
On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho introduced legislation to reexamine whether or not the United States should be a part of the organization, in part because of "questionable actions taken by the World Health Organization in response to the spread of COVID-19."
Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, also a Republican, was clear as to why he was focused on blaming China during the pandemic.
Americans are "either going to blame the CCP [China Communist Party] or they're going to blame President Trump as the left wants them to blame," he said on April 14.
The Republican Party even shared a memo with campaigns advising them, "don't defend Trump, other than the China Travel Ban — attack China."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.