President Trump said Friday that the United States is “terminating” its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) over its response to the novel coronavirus, following through on a threat issued earlier this month.
Speaking at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden, Trump accused the WHO of being under China’s “total control” and of failing to make reforms requested by his administration. The president said he would “redirect” funds promised to the WHO to assist other global health needs.
“We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” Trump said.
The announcement marks a further escalation with the global health body in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and is sure to prompt criticism from the health community. It follows a decision in mid-April to suspend funding to the WHO pending a review of the organization’s handling of the coronavirus.
The United States contributes upwards of $400 million annually to the WHO — the group’s largest contributor — and public health experts have warned that a suspension of funds would severely damage the organization.
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