Trump Warns WHO of Permanent Funding Cut Unless Action Taken to Show Independence From China

May 19, 2020 Updated: May 19, 2020

President Donald Trump on Monday issued the United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) an official warning that the United States will permanently cut its funding in 30 days if the organization doesn’t make major improvements to show that it is independent from China.

In a letter addressed to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Trump listed the key findings of his administration’s review of the WHO’s “failed response” to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus outbreak in Wuhan, China, and the resulting global pandemic that has unleashed both health and economic crises to every corner of the globe.

Trump said that based on the review, it is clear that the WHO “consistently ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier” and failed to share information from Taiwanese authorities that they had information indicating human-to-human transmission of the mysterious CCP virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.

“The World Health Organization chose not to share any of this critical information with the rest of the world, probably for political reasons,” Trump said.

He said that Chinese leader Xi Jinping reportedly pressured the WHO on Jan. 21 “not to declare the coronavirus outbreak an emergency,” and that the WHO only changed course on Jan. 30, when faced with “overwhelming evidence” to declare a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”

Trump then accused the United Nations body and Tedros of playing politics with people’s health, criticizing their decision to “strongly” praise China’s strict domestic travel restrictions while opposing his closing of U.S. borders and the ban on travellers coming from China.

“I put the ban in place regardless of your wishes,” Trump said.

The president went on to list various issues with the WHO’s reporting on the unfolding pandemic, concluding that, “It is clear that the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world.”

Trump ended the letter by saying that the United States is giving the WHO 30 days to demonstrate its “independence from China.”

“My administration has already started discussions with you on how to reform the organization. But action is needed quickly,” Trump wrote. “We do not have time to waste.”

“If the World Health Organization does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization.

“I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America’s interests.”

Hours earlier, Tedros vowed at a virtual meeting of the World Health Assembly—WHO’s decision-making body—to launch an independent investigation of the organization’s pandemic response after over 100 member countries called for a review.

The WHO “is committed to transparency, accountability and continuous improvement,” he said.