President Donald Trump announced on Friday he was severing the United States’ relationship with the World Health Organization, claiming China had “total control” over the organization and pressured the body to “mislead the world” about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump, who has complained for weeks about WHO as the virus death toll surged in the United States, said the global health body failed to adequately respond to the outbreak because China has “total control” over the global organization.
“We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” the president said from the White House. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating the relationship.”
The U.S. is the largest source of financial support for the WHO and its exit is expected to significantly weaken the organization. Trump said the U.S. would be “redirecting” the money to “other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” without providing specifics. He said Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured it to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered.
He noted that the U.S. contributes about $450 million to the world body while China provides about $40 million. – AP