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Trump announces U.S. will halt funding for WHO over coronavirus response

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President Trump announced Tuesday that the U.S. is placing a hold on funding to the World Health Organization over its handing of the coronavirus pandemic, pending a review.

Trump accused the WHO of “severely mismanaging and covering up” the coronavirus crisis, adding that the U.S. “has a duty to insist on full accountability.”

Trump has been fuming for days about what he sees as the WHO’s botched response to the pandemic and its deference to China.

  • “The WHO really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look,” Trump tweeted last week.
  • Trump’s national security team has rallied behind him, believing that the U.S. needed to go beyond public statements and make the WHO feel some pain for its missteps, according to officials involved in the internal discussions.

The backdrop: Over the past week, officials within the White House’s Office of Management and Budget have been working on a menu of options for how to handle the freezing of money.

  • The most likely route — and the one Trump took — is to reprogram U.S. funds that were allocated for the WHO, moving the money to other international organizations that can administer them for comparable purposes, officials said.
  • A more dramatic approach would have been to send a rescissions package to Congress, rescinding from the federal budget funds already allocated to WHO.
  • But given the House and Senate are on an extended recess during coronavirus, lawmakers can’t easily vote, making this option less realistic given Trump was “looking for action that can be done very quickly,” one administration official told Axios.

Context: The WHO is a United Nations agency that has 194 member states across the globe. The organization’s primary role is “to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations system,” according to its website.



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