June 29, 2020

Trump States U.S. will Withdraw from WHO

Trump States U.S. will Withdraw from WHO

President Trump made an announcement in the White House Rose Garden that he would be stopping all funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) and pulling out of the organization altogether. The President accused WHO of protecting China aimed at the COVID-19 pandemic and shared his displeasure that the organization had not made any of the reforms he suggested would stop the spread of the virus. 

“We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” Trump said. “The world needs answers from China on the virus.” During the two-year budget period, the United States has contributed 15% of the WHO’s total funding.

Some lawmakers do not agree with the President’s actions to withdraw completely. “Certainly there needs to be a good, hard look at mistakes the World Health Organization might have made in connection with coronavirus, but the time to do that is after the crisis has been dealt with, not in the middle of it,” said Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the senate’s health committee, in a press release. “Withdrawing U.S. membership could, among other things, interfere with clinical trials that are essential to the development of vaccines, which citizens of the United States as well as others in the world need. And withdrawing could make it harder to work with other countries to stop viruses before they get to the United States.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said he learned of President Trump's intentions of ceasing the decades-long U.S. relationship with WHO through Trump's press briefing. In the press conference, The Director-General stated, "The U.S. government's and its people's contribution and generosity toward global health over many decades has been immense, and it has made a great difference in public health all around the world. It is WHO's wish for this collaboration to continue."

Dr. Tom Frieden, former head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted, "The United States helped create the World Health Organization. And we're turning our back on it — we're turning our back on the world. That makes us less safe, it makes the world less safe.” A senior administration official told Politico Trump is committed to withdrawing from WHO, and U.S. employees detailed at the organization (several CDC employees) are likely to return. "None of us in the administration are under the assumption that this is temporary or will be reversed,” the official said. “This is a fundamental repudiation of the WHO and its failed mission."