President Donald Trump has deemed the World Health Organization (WHO) at least partially responsible for the deadly coronavirus pandemic and, in an effort to obtain accountability, temporarily froze American funding for the group pending further review.
On Friday, leaks suggested that Trump was on the verge of partially restoring funding to the WHO, but the president made it clear on Monday that no further money would be forthcoming unless the organization makes “major substantive improvements” within 30 days, The Hill reported.
Conflicting reports emerge
It was on April 14 that President Trump first announced a pause on any further U.S. funding for the WHO until a review could be conducted into the manner in which the organization handled the coronavirus outbreak from its earliest days.
That move effectively froze the approximately $400 million in taxpayer funds sent by the U.S. annually to the WHO, roughly 20% of the organization’s entire budget and far more than any other nation’s contribution to the joint global effort.
On Friday, however, Fox News reported exclusively on a leaked draft letter to the WHO from the White House which supposedly indicated that President Trump was prepared to restore funding, albeit at a much-reduced level that is more in line with what the Chinese communist regime contributes to the organization — specifically, roughly one-tenth of the prior amount.
Trump threatens funding freeze
As it turned out, that report from Fox may have been fake news, at least when compared against the actual letter President Trump sent on Monday to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that unmistakeably placed him and his organization on notice that no further funds would be forthcoming unless major organizational changes begin immediately.
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
Trump wrote that the review he previously ordered “confirmed many of the serious concerns I raised last month and identified others” that were also in need of being addressed, most particularly the WHO’s “alarming lack of independence” from the communist regime in China, Fox News reported.
The president proceeded to list more than a dozen examples of what he viewed as failures on the part of the WHO, whether it be the organization’s delays in alerting the rest of the world to the pandemic, its acceptance and dissemination of blatantly false or misleading propaganda from the Chinese regime, or its sharp criticism of Trump’s own response to the pandemic.
“It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world,” Trump wrote. “The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China.”
Shape up or we’re out — for good
“But action is needed quickly. We do not have time to waste,” the president concluded, adding:
That is why it is my duty, as President of the United States, to inform you that, if the World Health Organization does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization.
“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,” he added.
We couldn’t agree with him more.