Melinda Gates Says Trump Halting W.H.O. Funds ‘Makes No Sense,’ Announces Extra $150M in Aid

In this Feb. 1, 2019, Melinda Gates speaks while being interviewed in Kirkland, Wash. Bill and Melinda Gates are pushing back against a new wave of criticism about whether billionaire philanthropy is a force for good. The couple, whose foundation has the largest endowment in the world, said they’re not …
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told ABC News’s World News Tonight on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s decision to halt U.S. funds for the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) “makes no sense” and announced an additional $150 million in funding for Chinese coronavirus relief efforts.

“I think it’s worth saying, we’ve been working with the W.H.O. for over 20 years as a foundation. And no institution is perfect, but it’s the global response that’s going to get us through this, and W.H.O. was created after World War II to deal with exactly these kinds of issues around the world. So halting funding right now, that just doesn’t make any sense,” Melinda Gates told anchor David Muir.

On Tuesday, President Trump announced he had frozen funding for the W.H.O. while his administration reviews the United Nations-backed body’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

In his Rose Garden remarks, President Trump accused the W.H.O. of “mismanaging and covering up the spread” of the virus and pledged to hold it accountable.

“America and the world have chosen to rely on the WHO for accurate, timely and independent information to make important public health recommendations and decisions,” the president stated. “If we cannot trust that this is what we will receive from the WHO, our country will be forced to find other ways to work with other nations to achieve public health goals.”

“We spend $500 million a year,” he added, noting that China only spends between $30 million to $40 million annually.

As Breitbart News reported, “The W.H.O. claimed in January that ‘preliminary investigations’ by China found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus in Wuhan. Further, the organization called on countries to keep borders open despite labeling the massive outbreak a global emergency.”

Bill Gates has also criticized President Trump’s decision to halt funding of the W.H.O., calling the move “dangerous.”

“Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds,” Gates wrote on social media. “Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Gates Foundation announced it is boosting its coronavirus relief aid by $150 million, bringing its total contribution to $250 million.

“This new $150 million that we are announcing is really to help low- and middle-income countries, because we’re watching the spread of the disease around the world,” Gates told Muir. “We need to shore up their health system so they have the protective gear for their health care workers.”

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