The United States President Donald Trump announced today from the Rose Garden in the White House that America will effectively terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO).
This announcement came after the organization failed to enforce reforms demanded by the US President just two weeks ago. Trump announced that the country will take the money that it was giving to the WHO and distribute it to other public health organizations.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
Just last month, the President announced that he had asked his administration to stop funding for the World Health Organization while the White House investigates the organization’s role in how it handled the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Trump has repeatedly said that the WHO had mismanaged the situation and had helped China cover up the pandemic in its initial days.
He also alleged that WHO had failed its basic duty and must be held responsible for its actions. Trump explained that the world is dependent upon the WHO to provide them with accurate and timely information at the time of a crisis and the organization had failed to do either.
However, the President did say that he will continue to engage with the organization to achieve meaningful reforms.
According to experts, America provided $400 to $500 million to the WHO each year. In contrast China just contributes nearly $40 million to the organization per year.
The move has resulted in mixed reactions from policymakers, lawmakers, and public health officials. Many of the Trump supporters are even surprised and say that this will just result in an increased hold of the China on world stage and the WHO.
Trump is so mad about Chinese influence at the WHO that he's going to dramatically increase Chinese influence at the WHO. Makes a lot of sense in the middle of a pandemic that requires global cooperation.
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) May 29, 2020
America First is another campaign promise KEPT. 🇺🇸
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) May 29, 2020
This is really sad, and it's also idiotic. Yes, WHO has made mistakes, but Trump has just made a far more serious mistake. WHO oversees polio eradication, fights maternal mortality and FGM, battles Ebola. And we are in the middle of a pandemic. https://t.co/Sqewt9N8Vh
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) May 29, 2020
In 2018, Trump fired the US pandemic response team
Two years later, in the middle of a pandemic that has already killed 100,000 Americans, Trump cuts ties with the WHO https://t.co/SwZqVt8zoQ
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) May 29, 2020
Just two weeks ago in a letter to the WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the President had asked for “substantive improvements within 30 days”. The President had said that if these demands explained in the letter were not met, he will reconsider the US participation in WHO.
In the letter it said, “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.”
This is the letter sent to Dr. Tedros of the World Health Organization. It is self-explanatory! pic.twitter.com/pF2kzPUpDv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2020
But the notice of termination today, was before the 30 days were up and despite the fact that the World Health Assembly had actually taken meaningful action.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) May 29, 2020
Just hours after Trump had written the letter, the World Health Assembly had approved a European Union-led resolution that responded to at least two of the Trump’s demands.
The resolution had mandated an independent and stepwise investigation of the WHO’s performance in the pandemic response, along with a scientific examination into the origins of the virus emergence in China.
Even though many countries like India is continuously demanding answers from China as well, they have not stooped to the Trump’s blunt and dramatic approach.
Many world leaders have called for solidarity with WHO at this difficult time saying that right now the organization needs help and there is no need to undermine it, along the calls of investigating its possible role in a cover up or allegations of inadequateness.
Many experts are also saying that the American aggressive style will actually deflect attention from the right issues like China’s repression of free information flow and reprisals against Chinese and Wuhan whistle-blowers in the pandemic debacle.
Chinese social media has been swamped with messages of anger towards the government after the death of a doctor and whistle-blower Li Wenliang. He had previously warned people about the coronavirus after China attempted to cover it up and silence him.https://t.co/xoLuJvFBgT
— Free Tibet (@freetibetorg) February 8, 2020
China rounds up Wuhan’s citizen journalists for ‘provoking quarrels’ https://t.co/IoAFRvrX9A
— FT China (@ftchina) May 29, 2020
Critics are also calling attention to the fact that White House at the start of the year in January and early February was actually praising China and downplaying the impact of the virus.
Trump had tweeted “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus.”
Trump at the time had also tweeted that “We have it totally under control.”
Critics of Trump are now saying that he should have been more focused on his home turf at that time, as just today a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MMWR has shown that coronavirus was in fact spreading in America in late January.
The identification on February 26, 2020, of a patient with COVID-19 & no travel history indicated the likelihood of community spread. Until late Feb #COVID-19 incidence was too low to be detected by emergency department surveillance. Learn more @CDCMMWR: https://t.co/1Z9oW8hxZo pic.twitter.com/aw8FaoAw2Q
— MMWR (@CDCMMWR) May 29, 2020