The United States on Tuesday has officially withdrawn from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Trump Administration announced.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee announced the withdrawal notice on Twitter while blasting the decision amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic,” Menendez tweeted. “To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn’t do it justice. This won’t protect American lives or interests — it leaves Americans sick & America alone.”
A senior administration official confirmed that “the United States’ notice of withdrawal, effective July 6, 2021, has been submitted to the UN Secretary-General, who is the depository for the WHO” late Monday evening.
In mid-May, President Trump initially announced his intention to withdraw after sending a strongly worded letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. In the letter, Trump threatened to permanently freeze U.S. funding of $450 million a year to the global health entity unless WHO“commit to major substantive improvements” within 30 days based on “repeated missteps” his administration investigations has found in its responses to the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
“If the World Health Organization does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization,” Trump letter to WHO reads.
The U.S. is the largest donor, out of nearly 200 countries to the health organization. Meanwhile, China contributes only about $40 million per year.
Earlier this year, before the coronavirus outbreak, crippled the world, the United States gave almost $58 million to the WHO for the year. That funding from the U.S. represents about 22% of the WHO’s budget.