President Trump Threatens to Permanently Cut Off WHO Funding, Targets Tedros in Scathing Letter

Trump was highly critical of the WHO and called it out for 'lack of independence from China'

In a strongly-worded letter to the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened the organization that he will cut off its funding permanently and reconsider ties with it if it does not commit to major improvements within the next 30 days. Trump had halted WHO's funding last month as his administration reviewed the organization's role in mismanaging the coronavirus crisis and its alleged covering-up for China.

Donald Trump
Instagram grab/ Donald Trump

In a scathing letter addressed to the WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Trump raised several points. He was highly critical of the world health body and called it out for alleged "lack of independence from the People's Republic of China". He accused the WHO chief of ignoring credible reports about the new coronavirus that came from Wuhan, China, as early as in December 2019. He claimed that by December 30, WHO knew about the "major public health concern" in Wuhan based on the reports coming from the Chinese city itself.

On the human-to-human transmission of novel coronavirus, Trump called out WHO for both ignoring the alarm raised by Taiwanese authorities, as well as its January 14 statement in which it said that Chinese authorities found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.

Trump called out the WHO chief for praising China's domestic travel restrictions while criticizing travel restrictions imposed by other countries on Chinese nationals. He also criticized the world health body for belatedly declaring the disease a 'Public Health Emergency of International Concern' and a global pandemic.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Wikimedia commons

Concluding, Trump threatened to halt WHO's funding permanently and reconsider the US relationship with it if it "does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days", the letter read.

How will Trump suspend WHO's funding?

Since much of the WHO's fund is held by the Congress, it is not clear how Trump will proceed to freeze WHO's funding. Also, the President does not have the power to redirect congressional funding, CNBC reported.

Trump has sharpened his attack on the WHO since the US emerged as the epicenter of the novel coronavirus. As on Tuesday, the country has reported over 1.5 million Covid-19 cases along with more than 90,000 fatalities, the highest reported in the world.