21 April 2020

WHO Do you Listen To?

It wasn't a surprise because it was.

One could say that about many things Donald Trump has done.   He says and does things almost no-one could have anticipated, and they therefore come as a shock.  But they don't surprise us because the Cheeto In Chief has a history of doing things we wouldn't expect of anyone else.

An example is his decision to cut US funding to the World Health Organization.  I don't think even Herbert Hoover, the last American president who could claim to be an isolationist, would have done such a thing had the WHO existed at that time.  But Trump, at least since he started the campaign that led to his election, has voiced--and acted with-- disdain for anything that fosters American cooperation with the rest of the world. An example was his pulling the US out of the Paris Climate agreement.

So, if he hadn't already cut off America's financial contribution to the WHO--just as the world is in the COVID-19 pandemic--the organization's latest recommendation might have roiled him enough to hold up the money.

"Whenever feasible, consider riding bicycles or walking," the organization recommends.  These activities provide "physical distancing while helping to meet the minimum requirement for daily physical activity, which may be more difficult due to increased teleworking, and limited access to sport and other recreational activities."

Now, the fact that the WHO's recommendations are based on science and logic would be troubling enough for Trump. His ire, though, would be compounded by long-standing hatred of bicycles and bicyclists, to which I've alluded in this blog.

To be fair, there was a brief period when he didn't hold--or at least express--disdain for anything without a motor and with fewer than four wheels.  He took the Tour DuPont, then on the verge of becoming one of America's, and possibly the world's, major races and re-branded it as the Tour de Trump.  This was around the time Greg LeMond was winning the Tour de France, and bike racing seemed ready to take its place as one of this country's major sports.  In brief, he saw it as a business opportunity.

He later returned to his velo-phobia, culminated with his mocking of John Kerry when he got into a bike accident.  Imagine if that had happened now--just as the WHO is recommending cycling as a means of transportation and recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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