On Friday, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would be leaving the World Health Organization (WHO), per CNBC. In a statement, the president made it clear his administration was not pleased with what it perceives to be Chinese control of the WHO.
“China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year.”
Trump would go on to announce that the United States was effectively ending its relationship with the WHO.
“We are today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization,” the president said, effectively following through on his previous promise — delivered in a written letter earlier this month — to cut funding to the organization.
President Trump’s Earlier Threat To Leave The WHO Demanded ‘Major Substantive Improvements’ From The Organization
This is the letter sent to Dr. Tedros of the World Health Organization. It is self-explanatory! pic.twitter.com/pF2kzPUpDv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2020
In a strongly worded letter aimed at WHO head Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the president made a number of claims surrounding the notion that the WHO has been lax in its duty to inform the global community of the threat posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Trump also pointed to several instances in which he believed the WHO had provided “grossly inaccurate or misleading” information to the public surrounding COVID-19, asserting the organization had given in to pressure being exerted by Chinese President Xi Jinping on this score.
The list of the president’s grievances against the WHO was long, with several stated examples of seeming double standards — wherein the United States drew rampant criticism from the WHO over actions either praised, or ignored by, China — being asserted. Contrasting his estimation of Dr. Ghebreyesus’ actions against the “bold” steps taken by one of the doctor’s predecessors — former WHO Director-General Dr. Harlem Brundtland — the president expressed displeasure over the World Health Organization’s recent actions.
“She also did not hesitate to criticize China for endangering global health by attempting to cover up the outbreak through its usual playbook of arresting whistleblowers and censoring media. Many lives could have been saved had you followed Dr. Brundtland’s example.”
A longstanding point of contention between the Trump administration and the WHO has been the latter’s early position that a so-called travel ban would be ineffective in halting the spread of the coronavirus. In late January, the president’s administration enacted a travel ban on passengers arriving from China, and in February, the WHO responded with an advisory taking the opposite stance.
The Loss Of US Funding May Pose A ‘Major Implication’ In Terms Of WHO Operations, Spokesman Says
JUST IN: The US is terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization, Trump says pic.twitter.com/DGUdPFFUIU
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) May 29, 2020
In response to Trump’s earlier promise to withdraw US funding from the WHO, Dr. Mike Ryan of the organization’s health emergencies program speculated as to what this might mean for their operational capacity.
“We’ll obviously have to work with other partners to ensure those funds can still flow… This is going to be a major implication for delivering essential health services to some of the most vulnerable people in the world, and we trust developed donors will, if necessary, step in to fill that gap.”
Per the Daily Mail, the United States contributes about a quarter of the WHO’s operating budget. As of this writing, the organization has not offered a formal response to the news on its social media presences.