Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) is calling on the director of the World Health Organization (WHO) to step down as Republicans pounce on the organization for what they say is a role in a Chinese cover-up of its coronavirus statistics.
McSally, who is also in the midst of a fierce election fight, said on Fox Business on Thursday morning that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus should step down over the WHO's handling of COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China.
McSally said the WHO failed to adequately screen figures coming from Beijing regarding its number of cases and fatalities as reports emerge that the government's statistics may be rosier than the reality.
"I've never trusted a communist. And their cover-up of this virus that originated with them has caused unnecessary deaths around America and around the world," McSally said. "The WHO needs to stop covering for them. I think Dr. Tedros needs to step down. We need to take some action to address this issue. It's just irresponsible, it's unconscionable what they have done here while we have people dying across the globe."
When asked for comment, a WHO spokesperson said that membership in the group carries with it the expectation of "timely and accurate" reports and the responsibility "to prioritize public health, nationally and internationally."
McSally's comments follow remarks from Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), a vocal China hawk, calling for a congressional probe into the WHO, accusing the group of "helping Communist China cover up" the full extent of the virus's spread.
McSally agreed with Scott, saying Congress should "[address] the WHO as well."
Tedros, at a press conference Thursday, insisted that his group has received an avalanche of legitimate data and urged observers not to "profile" countries over a perceived lack of transparency.
"There's been a deluge of fantastic, scientifically based, evidence-based publications coming in on a daily basis," he said. "I think we need to be very careful also not to be profiling certain parts of the world as being non-cooperative or not transparent."
"And we need to look at transparency across the board, and we need to look at solidarity across the board," he added.