On Monday, over a month after US President Donald Trump has temporarily cut funding for the World Health Organization (WHO), following its allegedly inadequate handling of coronavirus pandemic, he has further threatened to permanently halt US funding for the global health body, if it does not commit to ‘major substantive improvements’ in the next 30 days. While warning a permanent cut of US funding, Trump also stated that he would reconsider the US membership of the group.
In a letter uploaded to the WHO’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on his official Twitter handle, Trump levied a series of allegations that the global health entity overlooked or ignored various warning signs about the coronavirus and criticized its stance toward China during the pandemic. Further, the letter claimed Taiwanese authorities had communicated to the WHO on December 31 that there was a human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus. “Yet, the WHO chose not to share any of this critical information with the rest of the world, probably for political reasons,” Trump wrote. He also noted that the WHO had opposed his decision to impose a ban on entry to people arriving in the US from China.
“It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world,” the letter read. “The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” he added.
Earlier, on Monday, Trump had referred WHO as being a ‘puppet of China’. “They (WHO) are a puppet of China. They’re China-centric, to put it nicer. But they’re a puppet of China. I think they have done a very sad job. The United States pays them $450 million a year. China pays them $38 million a year,” he told the reporters.
Further, Trump compared the WHO’s performance under Tedros with that of former WHO chief Harlem Brundtland, who had declared an emergency over a SARS outbreak in China in 2003 and criticized Beijing’s handling of the situation. “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,” stated Trump in Monday’s letter.