Earlier this year, President Donald Trump announced his intention to cut off further funding of the World Health Organization and withdraw U.S. participation in the global agency.
In an announcement this week, the U.S. Department of State revealed that it is set to reassign federal officials and remaining funding from the WHO to other public health groups, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
“Requested and greatly needed reforms”
The president criticized the organization in May, asserting that it was beholden to China’s communist regime in the international response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Amid allegations that the WHO sided with and even covered for China during the nation’s mismanagement of COVID-19 in its earliest stages, Trump issued a call for meaningful reforms within the agency.
“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” the president said in May.
At the time, he went on to assert that “Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities.”
According to Trump’s assessment, the situation resulted in the loss of “countless lives” and “profound economic hardship” around the world.
“Failed badly by those measures”
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus addressed the latest step toward a U.S. pullout from the WHO in a statement released on Thursday.
“The United States has long been the world’s most generous provider of health and humanitarian assistance to people around the world,” she wrote. “This assistance is provided with the support of the American taxpayer with the reasonable expectation that it serve an effective purpose and reach those in need.”
Ortagus went on to state that the WHO “has failed badly by those measures, not only in its response to COVID-19, but to other health crises in recent decades,” and “has declined to adopt urgently needed reforms, starting with demonstrating its independence from the Chinese Communist Party.”
According to The Hill, U.S. resources will be redirected starting with the remaining Fiscal Year 2020 budget ahead of a withdrawal date set for 2021.
While Trump’s initial remarks about pulling out of the WHO came as a shock to many Americans and world leaders, this week’s update provides the latest evidence that his tough talk was not a bluff.