US President Donald Trump on Tuesday came down heavily on the World Health Organisation (WHO) and threatened to cut US funding to the world body accusing it of bias toward China during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Trump has gone after WHO and China accusing them of keeping the world in dark about the epidemic.
Trump told reporters he was “going to put a very powerful hold on” funding to WHO, the UN body whose biggest funding source is the United States.
“We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO,” said Trump, who pursues an “America First” agenda and has previously criticized other UN and multilateral agencies.
He gave no details about how much money would be withheld and minutes later during the same press conference he said: “I’m not saying I’m going to do it.”
“We will look at ending funding,” he added.
According to Trump, the WHO “seems to be very biased toward China. That’s not right.”
His comments built on an earlier statement on Twitter in which he accused the WHO of being “very China centric.”
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
He said WHO, which “receives vast amount of money from the US criticized and disagreed with my travel ban at the time I did it.”
Trump asked why the WHO had given “such a faulty recommendation,” apparently referring to the UN body’s advice against curtailing international travel to stop the virus which first spread from China.
“Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on,” Trump wrote, referring to his decision to ban travel from the country.
Donald Trump’s criticism comes at a time when the United States and China appeared to have reached a truce in a vitriolic feud over the Coronavirus pandemic.
President Donald Trump had been using the provocative term “Chinese virus”, whereas Beijing infuriated the US last month when a foreign ministry spokesman spread a conspiracy theory that US troops brought the virus to Wuhan.
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 12,700 Americans and sickened nearly 400,000 across 50 states.
Trump ordered travel restrictions on people arriving from China in January to ward off spread of the virus here but the WHO opposed the move at the time, as did some Democrats and others.
Since the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, on New Year’s Eve, 430,000 people have arrived in the US from China, including about 40,000 since the ban was enacted. The WHO also reportedly downplayed the severity of the outbreak.
“Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission,” the group tweeted in mid-January.
The agency took a full week to reverse that misinformation, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, the Coronavirus death toll has surpassed 82,020 and the number of infections has risen to 1,428,428 according to John Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.