President Donald Trump threatened to permanently cut all funding to the World Health Organization and reconsider the United States’ membership if it does not make “major substantive improvements” in the next 30 days.
Trump sent a fiery letter late Monday evening to the UN organization, charging it with having a pro-China bias and botching its early response to the pandemic.
“It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world,” Trump wrote in the letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China.”
Trump announced in April that the US would temporarily halt funding to the organization while his administration investigated its ties with Beijing and its response to the global outbreak.
The four-page letter details the results of the review.
“This review has confirmed many of the serious concerns I raised last month and identified others that the World Health Organization should have addressed, especially the World Health Organization’s alarming lack of independence from the People’s Republic of China,” Trump wrote, adding that “if the World Health Organization does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization.”
Trump alleges in the letter that WHO ignored reports about the virus spreading in China in early December. He also accused the organization of making false claims about the virus, including that it “could not be transmitted between humans.”
The letter charges the organization of being manipulated by Beijing and failing to criticize the country for its response to the virus and its treatment of early whistleblowers.
“By the time you finally declared the virus a pandemic on March 11, 2020, it had killed more than 4,000 people and infected more than 100,000 people in at least 114 countries,” the letter read.
As of Monday, more than 90,300 people in the US have died from the virus, according to John Hopkins University.
The US was the WHO’s largest donor. According to the organization’s records, the US had given the group $893 million in the two-year period ending at the close of 2019.
As Washington continues to threaten the organization, China is increasing its committments.
Chinse President Xi Jinping on Monday pledged $2 billion to fight the pandemic.
John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said China’s $2 billion payment is a “token to distract from calls from a growing number of nations demanding accountability for the Chinese government’s failure to meet its obligations under International Health Regulations to tell the truth and warn the world of what was coming.”
The WHO on Monday bowed to calls from most of its member states to launch an independent probe into its management of the COVID-19 crisis.