ABC 36 Exclusive: U.S. Ambassador Craft on leaving World Health Organization

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – In an exclusive interview with WTVQ, Kentucky native and UK graduate Kelly Craft, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, talks about what it means now that the United States is no longer part of the World Health Organization (WHO).

That organization coordinates international public health efforts, including the global response to the pandemic.

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Craft says pulling out of the WHO was the right thing to do.

“The WHO, who we have supported financially, was not transparent on providing and being forthcoming on information concerning COVID,” says Craft.

Craft says including that the coronavirus could spread from person-to-person. However, the WHO’s website says it released guidance on how to manage the outbreak in early January. But Craft says WHO had ulterior motives.

“We firmly believe that WHO was nothing but a mouthpiece for China,” said Craft.

China set off the global pandemic. The WHO and President Trump initially praised China for its transparency, but that praise later turned to harsh criticism by the Trump administration.

“In 2016, when the president ran for election, he ran on the fact that we have to focus inward on America,” says Craft. “We have to mind our own because we were so dependent on China.”

Reports show the United States is the largest funder of the WHO – responsible for more than $400 million a year. Craft says cutting ties with the organization means that money can be spent at home.

Craft says the future will be ready for future health crises even without the support of the WHO.

“This was not the first pandemic, and it’s not going to be the last,” says Craft. “We will build upon the best practices. We will unlearn our bad practices. We will change from our mistakes and become stronger.”

Cutting ties with the WHO won’t be effective until next July, leaving open the possibility that, should Donald Trump lose reelection, the Biden administration could reverse the decision, which the former Vice President says he would do immediately upon taking office.