While President Trump has been vocal in his criticism against the World Health Organization’s handling of the Coronavirus, and at first threatened to cut funding followed by announcing the US would completely withdraw from the global group, today, the administration formally submitted their withdrawal to the United Nations secretary-general. While the process takes a year to complete, there are already questions if the decision could be reversed. In any case, as the number one financial contributor to the WHO, and in the middle of the global pandemic, the effects of this decision will be significant.
President Trump has been vocal about the WHO’s bias towards China, the second largest financial contributor to the organization. He has also been vocal at the WHO’s response to stopping the Coronavirus, sharing information, and creating transparency.
The timeline: In April, President Trump froze funding to the WHO. This sparked a lot of backlash, but President Trump remained firm in his decision and wrote to the WHO that he demanded reforms if they wanted funding to unfreeze. In May, he announced he was “terminating” ties with the WHO. Today, he made it official.
President Trump has been applauded for this decision by his conservative allies in Congress, who have been openly critical about China’s response to the Coronavirus. As the epidemic has cost lives, jobs, and the general way of life, Republicans believe China should have been more preventative, more transparent, and more communicative about the virus to help slow the initial spread. Furthermore, they believe China should be held accountable for the global effects. Critics of the WHO have said the organization is misusing their funding, and inappropriately favors China.
Why this matters: President Trump has been openly skeptical of the United Nations since the beginning of his presidency. As the United States is the largest financial contributor to many of these global organizations, President Trump has differed from his predecessor in demanding reform. Furthermore, it keeps in line with his base, of putting America and its interests first.
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