President Donald Trump announced Tuesday at the White House that he would put a hold on funding to the World Health Organization amid the coronavirus crisis.
“They were wrong about a lot of things,” Trump said.
The president noted that the World Health Organization receives more from the United States than any other country, and would require accounting for their failure to properly alarm the world about the coronavirus outbreak.
“We want to look into the World Health Organization because they really called it wrong,” Trump said. “They missed the call, they could have called it months earlier, they would have known, they should have known, and they probably did know.”
The president noted that the WHO actually criticized his travel ban from China that he set in late January.
“Such restrictions can have the effect of increasing fear and stigma, with little public health benefit,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said about travel bans just days after Trump banned travel from China.
Trump said the WHO frequently sided with China despite heavy criticism for their lack of transparency about the virus.
“They seem to be very China-centric,” he said. “That’s a nice way of saying it, but they seem to be very China-centric, and they seem to err always on the side of China.”
Trump accused the global organization of also getting a lot wrong about the virus.
“It’s a great thing when it works, but when they call every shot wrong, it’s no good,” he said.
Later in the briefing, reporters asked why he would freeze funding to the WHO in the middle of a pandemic.
“I’m not saying I’m going to do it. But we’re going to look at it,” the president said.