Saying the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “failed in its basic duty”, President Trump has announced his intentions to halt US funding of the United Nations agency. Pres. Trump criticized the WHO for perceived mismanagement of their COVID-19 response, even insinuating that the agency attempted to cover up the spread of the coronavirus in China.
“I am directing my administration to halt funding 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 stated at a White House news conference on Tuesday.
“We regret the decision of the President of the United States to order a halt in funding to the World Health Organization,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The United States of America has been a longstanding and generous friend to WHO and we hope it will continue to be so.”
UN Secretary General António Guterres condemned the announcement, saying that the international community should be uniting “in solidarity to stop this virus”.
“It is my belief that the World Health Organization must be supported, as it is absolutely critical to the world’s efforts to win the war against COVID-19,” Guterres said.
Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas tweeted that strengthening the “under-funded” WHO was one of the best investments that could be made at this time.
To date, the US is the largest global funder of the WHO. In 2019, the WHO received approximately $400 million in funds from the US.