WATCH: Trump announces a “hold” on money going to the WHO, calls them “China centric.”
“They missed the call. They could have called it months earlier ... they should have known. And they probably did know.”
The New York Times said:President Trump lashed out on Tuesday at the World Health Organization, creating a new enemy to attack and threatening to withhold funding from the world’s premier health institution even as a deadly virus ravages nations around the globe.
“We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the W.H.O.; we’re going to put a very powerful hold on it and we’re going to see,” Mr. Trump said, accusing the organization of having not been aggressive enough in confronting the dangers from the virus. “They called it wrong. They call it wrong. They really they missed the call.”
In effect, Mr. Trump was attempting to blame the W.H.O. for the very missteps and failures that have been leveled at him and his administration. Public health experts have said Mr. Trump’s public denials of concern about the virus slowed the American response, which included slow testing and a failure to stockpile protective gear.
In fact, the W.H.O. was sounding the alarm in the earliest days of the crisis, declaring a “public health emergency of international concern” a day before the United States secretary of health and human services announced its own public health emergency and weeks before Mr. Trump declared a national emergency because of the virus.
Mr. Trump appeared to be particularly angry at the W.H.O. for issuing a statement saying it did not support his decision on Jan. 31 to restrict some travel from China because of the virus. At the time, the group issued a statement saying that “restricting the movement of people and goods during public health emergencies is ineffective in most situations and may divert resources from other interventions.”
“Don’t close your borders to China, don’t do this,” Mr. Trump said, paraphrasing the group and accusing the organization of “not seeing” the outbreak when it started in Wuhan, China. “They didn’t see it, how do you not see it? They didn’t see it. They didn’t report it. If they did see it, they must have seen it, but they didn’t report.”
In fact, the W.H.O. repeatedly issued statements about the emergence of the virus in China and its movement around the world.
The budget for the W.H.O. is about $5 billion, which comes from member countries around the world. In 2017, the last year for which figures were available, the United States was required to spend $111 million based on the organization’s rules, but sent an additional $401 million in voluntary contributions.
It was unclear whether Mr. Trump planned to eliminate all of the money that the United States sends to the organization, but he said that “we’re going to look at it.” He added that his government will investigate the W.H.O. and said that “we will look at ending funding.”