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Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., accused President Trump Tuesday night of shifting blame for the extent of the coronavirus pandemic onto China and the World Health Organization instead of accepting responsibility.
“The reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did, is not because of anything the WHO did. It’s because of what this president did,” Murphy told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360”. “It’s because he didn’t take this virus seriously. We weren’t going to be able to keep every case out of the United States, but we didn’t have to have tens of thousands of people dying.”
Murphy spoke hours after Trump announced the administration would halt funding to the WHO while it investigates the global health agency’s reponse to the pandemic.
The president claimed the outbreak could have been contained at its source and that lives could have been saved had the WHO done a better job investigating the early reports coming out of China.
“The WHO failed in its basic duty and must be held accountable,” Trump said.
Murphy said on Tuesday that “the president is engaging in sort of middle school-grade deflection, trying to blame the WHO for something that he was responsible for.” The senator also defended the WHO, saying they invested in testing in the “early days of this virus.”
“Had we been working with the WHO early on,” Murphy said, “we might be in a very different position here.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.