President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he is considering putting a hold on the United States funding to the United Nations World Health Organization due to discontentment with its response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
"We're going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We're going to put a very powerful hold on it and we're going to see," Trump said at the White House Coronavirus Task Force press conference, according to CNBC.
"They called it wrong. They call it wrong. They really, they missed the call." The president was echoing the sentiments from his tweet earlier in the day, where he accused the international organization of being "China-centric," despite being "funded largely by the U.S."
The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2020
"Take a look, go through step by step. They said there's no big deal, there's no big problem. There's no nothing, and then ultimately when I closed it down, they said I made a mistake in closing it down and it turned out to be right," Trump added, as reported by CNBC.
Why It Matters
The president's comments are contrary to the actual response of his own administration and that of the WHO. Trump had earlier downplayed the impact of COVID-19, drawing comparisons with the flu.
In February, when he created a coronavirus task force headed by Vice President Mike Pence, Trump said the "risk to American people remains very low."
The WHO had been warning other countries of a coronavirus breakout at least as far back as late January, when the death toll in China was less than 300, and seldom cases existed outside the country.
The COVID-19 outbreak was declared a "public health emergency of international concern" on January 30.
The organization has mostly praised the U.S. response to the coronavirus but has objected to referring to the coronavirus as the "Chinese virus," as Trump has suggested.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have neared 400,000 at press time, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. At least 12,907 have reportedly died from developing severe pneumonia caused by the virus.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia.
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