President Donald Trump ordered a hold on funds sent to the World Health Organization Tuesday, demanding that they answer for their failures to properly warn the world about the coronavirus.
The president criticized the WHO for criticizing his travel ban on China during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The WHO’s attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above life-saving measures,” Trump said.
Trump announced his decision at a press conference in the Rose Garden on Tuesday.
“We spend $500 million a year,” Trump said, noting that China only spent $30-$40 million.
He noted that the WHO played a role in “mismanaging and covering up” the spread of the coronavirus around the world.
“The WHO pushed China’s misinformation about the virus, saying it was not communicable and there was no need for travel bans,” he said.
Trump blamed the global health group for relying too much on China, despite the United States paying a majority of their funding.
“The WHO’s reliance on China’s disclosures likely caused a twenty-fold of cases worldwide, and it may be much more than that,” he said.
The president noted that the WHO failed to investigate credible information about the virus that raised flags that China was not telling the entire truth about the virus. He also noted that the WHO failed to acquire samples of the virus allowing scientists to study the disease.
Meanwhile, Trump said, China continued to spread false information about the virus while medical researchers who criticized the Chinese government disappeared.
“Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the corned and to call out China’s lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source,” he said.
The president stopped short of calling for the resignation of World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus but noted that it was time for a reckoning.
He said that representatives from the WHO never responded to their mistakes or failures, prompting him to put a freeze on funding pending a review.
“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,” Trump said.