Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the United States is looking into defunding the World Health Organization (WHO) over their response to the coronavirus pandemic. According to Trump, they got “every aspect” of the global health crisis wrong.
“They missed the call,” Trump said at the beginning of the daily coronavirus briefing. “They could have called it months earlier. They would have known, and they should have known, and they probably did know,” Trump said of the organization that sounded the alarm on the outbreak in mid-January, and designated it a health emergency by January 30.
“We’re going to be looking into that very carefully, and we’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO,” Trump continued. “We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it, and we’re going to see. It’s a great thing if it works, but when they call every shot wrong, that’s not good.”
The current U.S. leader has stated multiple times that he takes zero responsibility for the United States’ poor handling of the crisis that now affects nearly every corner of the globe. From Trump’s estimation, he made the best decisions possible based on what he was being told from WHO, even choosing to close down borders to China despite what the organization suggested.
However, Trump’s decision to blame the organization contradicts his admission that he knew the COVID-19 outbreak was a pandemic from the beginning. It also calls into question why the country is still lagging behind in coronavirus testing and PPE for health care workers, as a newly released HHS report details, if early intervention took place.
Trump has proposed cutting the funding to WHO by more than half in 2021. Congress will ultimately determine whether or not withholding funds or defunding the organization altogether is possible.