Last month the US president, Donald Trump suspended contributions to the WHO, mainly as a result of their “disinformation” about the virus.
Donald Trump threatened to permanently withdraw funding from the World Health Organisation (WHO) unless it was prepared to commit to improving within a month.
The US president will reconsider the country’s WHO membership since they did a “very sad job” in handling this pandemic.
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
Trump suspended US contributions to the WHO last month, accusing it of promoting China’s “disinformation” about the virus outbreak.
At the time WHO officials denied the accusation, saying: “We are still in the acute phase of a pandemic so now is not the time to cut back on funding.“
In a letter to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, posted on Twitter on Monday, Mr Trump wrote: “If the WHO does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the WHO permanent and reconsider our membership.”
He claims the body needs to demonstrate its independence from China, and revealed that the administration had already started reform discussions with Mr Ghebreyesus.
“The only way forward for the World Health Organisation is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China… I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organisation that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America’s interests,” the letter said.
Trump’s administration accused the UN health agency of being “China-centric“.
The president stated the body had “failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable” for their handling of the crisis.
Mr Trump argued that the virus could have been contained if the WHO had investigated it better once the initial reports that emerged from China.
It is unclear how Mr Trump would withhold funds, which are usually appropriated by Congress.
The president doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally redirect congressional funding.
Critics claim Mr Trump is attempting to use Beijing to deflect from shortcomings in his own response to the pandemic.
Prof Devi Sridhar, Professor of Global Public Health, University of Edinburgh, said: “This letter is written for his base and to deflect blame. China and the US are fighting it out like divorced parents while WHO is the child caught in the middle trying not to pick sides.“
The US has the most confirmed number of coronavirus cases worldwide, with more than 1.5 million infections and over 90,000 deaths.
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