June 1, 2020

Commission Statement on Decision by Trump Administration to Withdraw from World Health Organization


Contact: Steve Aaron
SRA Communications
(717) 554-8614


WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 1, 2020) – The co-chairs of the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, today issued the following statement on the decision by the Trump Administration to withdraw from the World Health Organization.

“In our foundational 2015 report, the Commission identified several weaknesses of the World Health Organization, including an inability to manage a quick and effective biological outbreak response. But while WHO certainly has its shortcomings, a loss in membership would mean a loss in access to critical data — information about what is going on elsewhere around the globe. In the era of globalized disease events like COVID-19, that information is vital to our public health experts and decision makers as they decide how to move forward. Like it or not, we are members of the global community and we need their information and support, as much they need ours.”

About the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense

The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, formerly known as the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Panel’s 2015 report, National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. Subsequent Commission publications have addressed critical needs for agrodefense, biodefense budgeting, and State, Local, Tribal and Territorial capabilities. In September 2018, the White House released the National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint. The Commission continues to assess biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Commission, and are joined by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein, and former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco. Hudson Institute is the Commission’s fiscal sponsors.