US President Donald Trump announced the suspension of funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, April 14). The decision comes just a few days after the President threatened to slash WHO funding. However, he had backtracked from the threat, saying the issue would be discussed.
What did President Trump say?
In a press conference on Tuesday, Trump said: "Today I am instructing my administration to halt funding to the World Health Organization, while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus".
Highlighting the US funding to the world health body, he said: "American taxpayers provide between $400 million to $500 million, per year". "In contrast, China contributes roughly $40 million a year and even less".
He specifically targeted WHO's decision on travel restrictions. During the initial coronavirus outbreak, the WHO called out other countries for imposing travel ban on China, which was then the epicenter of the virus outbreak.
"The WHO's attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above life-saving measures", Trump said on Tuesday.
"Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death", he said.
"This would have saved thousands of lives and avoided worldwide economic damage. Instead, the WHO willingly took China's assurances to face value... and defended the actions of the Chinese government", he added, AFP reported.
Donald Trump accused of downplaying coronavirus threat
Along with WHO, President Donald Trump has been widely accused of downplaying the novel coronavirus pandemic, especially because of 2020 being the election year.
On January 30, the WHO declared novel coronavirus a 'public health emergency of international concern'. As recent as on March 7, the U.S. President tweeted: "Last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!".
Four days later, on March 11, the WHO declared Covid-19, a 'global pandemic'. On February 1, while the disease was already declared a 'public health emergency of international concern', Trump was golfing in Florida.
At a campaign rally on February 28, he called the coronavirus, a "hoax". He criticized the Democrats for allegedly "politicizing the coronavirus" and called it their "new hoax".
Although WHO has been criticized for mismanaging the novel coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump has been equally criticized for the same. As on April 14, the novel coronavirus has infected 613,886 Americans and killed 26,047. At the same time, globally the disease has infected 1,998,535 people and killed 126,686.