President Donald Trump warned the World Health Organization Monday night that the US will permanently cut all funding for the international health organization if it does not make major reforms within the next month.
In a four-page letter, Trump castigated the WHO’s response to the coronavirus pandemic from December of last year through April, citing the WHO’s failure to take early reports on the coronavirus’ spread seriously and ignoring early warnings by Taiwanese health officials who had been informed by their Chinese counterparts that the novel coronavirus could spread by human-to-human transmission.
Trump accused the WHO of toeing the line for China, both in regards to Beijing’s refusal to recognize Taiwanese independence, and in its denials regarding the dangers presented by the virus.
“On January 14, 2020, the World Health Organization gratuitously reaffirmed China’s now-debunked claim that the coronavirus could not be transmitted between humans…This assertion was in direct conflict with censored reports from Wuhan.”
“President Xi Jinping of China reportedly pressured you not to declare the coronavirus outbreak an emergency. You gave in to this pressure the next day and told the world that the coronavirus did not pose a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Just over a week later, on January 30, 2020, overwhelming evidence to the contrary forced you to reverse course.”
The President also lambasted the WHO for pushing back against his China travel ban, and the WHO’s recommendations to other countries that they not impose limitations on international travel.
Trump concluded the letter by laying down a 30-day deadline for “major substantive improvements” in the WHO. If the WHO fails to satisfy the Trump administration’s call for reform, “I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization.”
Last month, President Trump suspended US funding of the WHO. The US contributes roughly 900 million dollars to the WHO’s two-year budget cycle, or just under one-fifth of the organization’s total budget. The US is the WHO’s largest contributor.