President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he is halting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) pending a review of its response to the initial novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, after the organization criticized his travel restrictions to China implemented in early February, Axios reports.
“Today I’m instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” Trump said at a White House press conference.
Trump said that his administration has “deep concerns about whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible.” Additionally, Trump accused the health organization of failing to “adequately obtain and share information in a timely and transparent fashion,” stating that the virus “could have been contained at its source.”
Continuing his scorched earth campaign against science and reason, he said that WHO’s opposition to his travel ban against China was evidence of the organization’s ineptness.
“Fortunately, I was not convinced and suspended travel from China saving untold numbers of lives,” he said.
This is not Trump’s first time criticizing WHO. On April 7, he tweeted, “The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?”
WHO designating the Covid-19 outbreak as a global health emergency on Jan. 30 “when there were just 8,200 cases in 18 countries across the world,” Axios reports.
Trump denied and dismissed the seriousness of the novel coronavirus for almost two months, only declaring it a national emergency two days after WHO declared it a global pandemic.
Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association, sharply criticized Trump’s decision on Tuesday, saying that he was making it “during the worst public health crisis in a century.”
“Cutting funding to the WHO — rather than focusing on solutions — is a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world,” Harris said. “The AMA is deeply concerned by this decision and its wide-ranging ramifications, and we strongly urge the President to reconsider.”
According to NBC News, the United States is the largest contributor to WHO out of 196 countries, accounting for roughly 15 percent of the agency’s budget.
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