During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Kennedy asked Fauci, “Can we agree that if you took [Chinese] President Xi Jinping and turned him upside and shook him, the World Health Organization would fall out of his pocket?”
“I don’t think I can answer that question, sir. I’m sorry,” Fauci responded.
Kennedy asked, “Do you think that President Xi Jinping has undue influence over the World Health Organization?”
“I have no way of knowing the influence of the president of China over the WHO,” Fauci said.
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Last year, conservatives raised concerns about the influence China reportedly wielded over the WHO. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) claimed that the head of the WHO was “in the pocket of China” and called for an investigation into his connection with the country.
Cotton also blasted the WHO for uncritically sharing information from China about the virus, “So, for instance, it accepted China’s ludicrously false claims that there was no human to human contact in the early days of this virus. It refused to respond to some of the learning that we had from Taiwan because Taiwan is not viewed by Beijing as a country.”
Additionally, then-President Donald Trump announced plans for the U.S. to pull out of the WHO amid concerns that China was exerting immense control over it.
WHO officials have strenuously denied that they intentionally withheld critical information about the virus in the early days of the outbreak.
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