Trump freezes all $500 million of U.S. funding for the WHO accusing it of ‘accelerating the pandemic’ and being ‘China-centric’
On Tuesday, April 14th, President Trump announced he was freezing all funding to the World Health Organization.
According to Trump, the WHO is accelerating the coronavirus pandemic by opposing travel bans from China, which the President supported.
In the White House Rose Garden, as Mail Online reports, President Donald Trump declared:
“Today I’m instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging the spread of the coronavirus.”
Trump announced that the WHO’s ‘attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above life-saving measures‘.
Moreover, he pointed to the funding disparities between the two countries, which both fund the organization. The U.S President said that while American taxpayers pay around $400 to $500 million annually to the WHO, China pays much less than that sum – around a 10th of it, which equals roughly $40 million a year.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 14, 2020
Following his belief that the WHO is too China-centric, Trump continued:
“The WHO pushed China’s misinformation about the virus saying it was not communicable and there was no need for travel bans.”
According to President Trump, countries who followed WHO’s advice experienced ‘great tragedies and missed opportunities from the early days’.
In the meantime, he claimed that his decision to ban flights from China in late January has saved an ‘untold number of lives’.
On Tuesday, the CNN White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, raised the question about how Trump is punishing the WHO for praising China’s transparency when he, too, praised China’s transparency.
China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2020
At the briefing, when he was asked if he was being hypocritical, the President responded: “I’m always respectful of China.” Later on, Trump explained what will he do with the money that originally goes to the World Health Organization:
“For the time we will redirect global health and directly work with others. All of the aid that we send will be discussed … with very powerful and influential and smart groups, medically, politically and every other way. And we’ll be discussing it with other countries and global health partners what we do with all that money that goes to WHO. And maybe WHO will reform and maybe they won’t.”
As the WHO generally doesn’t support travel bans because such a move may lead to the destabilization of economies, Tarik Jašarević, a WHO spokesperson, said:
“Although travel restrictions may intuitively seem like the right thing to do, this is not something that WHO usually recommends. This is because of the social disruption they cause and the intensive use of resources required.”
On the other hand, democrats criticized the U.S. President for his decision, saying this was not the right time to stop funding for health.
The ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Patrick Leahy, said:
“Not wanting to take responsibility as the deaths continue to mount, he blames others.”
Additionally, Trump’s enemy, Adam Schiff, said:
“International cooperation on public health has never been more critical. Freezing funding for the WHO will only make it worse.”
On Tuesday, April 14th, on his Twitter account, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus posted updates on the WHO’s strategy on handling coronavirus.
As the world approaches 2 million #COVID19 cases, @WHO is updating its global response strategy to support countries to save lives & stop the #coronavirus. The updated strategy summarizes what we’ve learned & charts the way forward, incl criteria for lifting current restrictions. pic.twitter.com/uxhxJIbg0S
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) April 14, 2020
The World Health Organisation’s director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is now facing heavy criticism over his handling of the pandemic, especially for the praise he heaped on China’s communist party for its response.
Dr. Tedros, an Ethiopian microbiologist and career politician, supported the regime’s ‘commitment to transparency’ and said the speed with which it detected the virus was ‘beyond words‘.
This made President Donald Trump allegate that the WHO is China-centric. Besides, Trump has promised to ‘look into’ the organization’s director. Furthermore, the U.S. President has now halted funding to the WHO until an investigation has been carried out while suggesting that they withheld information on the virus.
In fact, this has not been the first time Dr. Tedros has been accused of closely collaborating with China.
In 2017, when Ghebreyesus was elected for the WHO’s director, it was alleged that Chinese diplomats had been heavily involved in his campaign. Not long after his election, The Times reported:
“Chinese diplomats had campaigned hard for the Ethiopian, using Beijing’s financial clout and opaque aid budget to build support for him among developing countries.”
When Dr. Tedros was promoted to Foreign Minister in 2012, he was widely hailed for helping to negotiate a boost in UN funding for Ethiopia. What’s more, UN funding records show that at the time, the country received millions in additional funding – including from China, which had previously given little or nothing to support the country.
Moreover, Ghebreyesus was also accused of covering three separate cholera outbreaks in 2006, 2008, and 2011.
As Dr. Tedros became the WHO’s director, he vowed to reform the health organization by emphasizing on universal healthcare, while also increasing funding.
Indeed, further UN funding records display a significant increase in China’s contribution to the WHO. In 2016, it was roughly $23million, and in 2019 it extended to nearly $38million.
Furthermore, in 2020, China has also committed to a $57million in funding. Meanwhile funding from other major world economies – including the US, Russia, Japan, and Germany – has remained largely flat or even fallen over the same period.