President Donald Trump takes questions as he addresses the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, April 13, 2020. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
“Today I’m instructing my administration to halt funding of the WHO while a review is conducted to assess the WHO’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” Trump said today during a White House press briefing. “The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable.”
The president said the outbreak could have been contained at its source and thousands of lives could have been saved had the U.N. health agency not taken China at its word during the onset of the pandemic.
The announcement doesn’t come as surprise, the president last week tweeted the following:
“The WHO really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look.”
“The United States remains by far the largest contributor to the World Health Organization, as we’ve been since 1948. Our contribution exceeded $400 million last year, 10 times that of China,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in March.
The WHO has also been widely criticized by U.S. lawmakers including, Rick Scott (R-FL) and others for whitewashing Chinese government mismanagement and spreading Chinese propaganda at the onset of the pandemic.
The U.S. isn’t the only country criticizing the WHO, Taiwan in March accused the WHO of failing to publish early warnings from Taiwanese medical officials that the coronavirus could be spread via human-to-human transmission. China, which does not recognize Taiwan as an independent country, does not permit the WHO to accept Taiwan as a member state.
President Trump said that the world depends on the WHO to work with countries to make sure that accurate information about serious health threats are shared in a timely manner. Trump also said that he plans to continue to work with the WHO and other countries to ensure meaningful reforms are made within the organization.
April 14th, 2020