Trump orders US to stop funding WHO as it reviews alleged role in what he calls 'covering up the spread of the coronavirus'
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he is directing his administration to halt U.S. funding of the World Health Organization, as he accused the WHO of mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus and promised a review of the matter.
“So much death has been caused by their mistakes,” Trump said at a daily White House briefing on the pandemic, adding that his administration will continue to engage with the WHO.
Trump, who had threatened to freeze U.S. funding to the international organization earlier this month, said the U.S. provides between about $400 million to $500 million each year to the organization.
Despite numerous reports detailing how Trump was briefed on the potential severity of the coronavirus through January and February, Trump blamed the WHO for enabling China in concealing the true extent of the contagion.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO). Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via Associated Press
"The outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death. This would have saved thousands of lives and avoided worldwide economic damage. Instead, the WHO willingly took China's assurances to face-value, and they took it just at face-value, and defended the actions of the Chinese government. Even praising China for its so-called transparency."
Trump previously threatened to cut the US's funding earlier in April, after accusing the organization of being too sympathetic towards China.
WHO leaders downplayed Trump's rhetoric and said his tone was unnecessary amid the pandemic, according to Business Insider's Hilary Bruek.
"No need to use COVID to score political points, no need," WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. "You have many other ways to prove yourselves. This is not the one to use for politics. It's like playing with fire."
"The focus of all political parties should be to save their people," Tedros added. "If you don't want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it."