Trump says U.S. will stop funding World Health Organization
Trump orders US to stop funding WHO as it reviews alleged role in what he calls ‘covering up the spread of the coronavirus’
Donald Trump on Tuesday announced he would halt funding of the World Health Organization as the US conducts a review to assess its role in what the president called “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”
“With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible,” Trump said during a press conference at the Rose Garden. “The reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion.”
“Everybody knows what’s going on there,” Trump added.
Despite numerous reports detailing how Trump was briefed on the potential severity of the coronavirus through January and February, Trump blamed the WHO for enabling China in concealing the true extent of the contagion.
The US contributes between $400 million to $500 million per year to the organization, according to the White House. China contributes to around $40 million a year.
“The outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death,” Trump said. “This would have saved thousands of lives and avoided worldwide economic damage. Instead, the WHO willingly took China’s assurances to face-value, and they took it just at face-value, and defended the actions of the Chinese government. Even praising China for its so-called transparency.”
Trump threatened to cut the US’ funding earlier in April, after accusing the organization of being too sympathetic towards China. WHO leaders downplayed Trump’s rhetoric at the time and said his tone was unnecessary amid the pandemic, according to Business Insider’s Hilary Bruek.
“No need to use COVID to score political points, no need,” WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “You have many other ways to prove yourselves. This is not the one to use for politics. It’s like playing with fire.”
“The focus of all political parties should be to save their people,” Tedros added. “If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.”
Some experts have theorized that the WHO is not reliant on China, given the country’s limited contributions, and may have been merely trying to maintain a good relationship during a crisis. In a January statement about the novel coronavirus, the WHO requested China to “share full data on all cases” and “enhance rational public health measures for containment and mitigation.”