President Trump announced Tuesday that he has instructed his administration to halt funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) until a review of the group’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is completed.
“Today I’m instructing my administration to stop 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 during his White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing. “With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible. The reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion.”
Trump added that the review of the agency would take 60 to 90 days and that a “very thorough investigation” is underway.
He emphasized the WHO “took China’s assurances at face value” and pushed China’s misinformation about the virus,” while hiding “credible” evidence that the virus could spread from human-to-human transmission.
“Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency, 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 defended the actions of the Chinese government.”
The president criticized the WHO for opposing his large-scale travel restrictions, including his travel ban to China.
“They were very much opposed to what we did. Fortunately, I was not convinced and suspended travel from China, saving untold numbers of lives,” Trump said. “One of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the WHO. was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions to China and other nations. The WHO’s attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above life-saving measures.”
“Look at the rest of the world. Look at parts of Europe,” Trump added. “Other nations and regions who followed WHO guidelines and kept their borders open to China accelerated the pandemic all around the world. Many countries said we’re going to listen to the WHO, and they have problems the likes of which they cannot believe.”
The U.S. is the largest donor, out of nearly 200 countries to the health organization. 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.
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