In a biting open letter to Dr. Tedros, Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), President Donald Trump did not mince words as he threatened to permanently end U.S. funding and America’s membership in the organization if major changes are not made.
The president begins by saying he took action to suspend funding due to the organization’s “failed response to the COVID-19 outbreak” citing the WHO’s “alarming lack of independence” from China.
The letter from the White House lists several grievances against the organization including:
- WHO “ignored credible reports” of the outbreak in Wuhan in December 2019 and “failed to independently investigate.”
- WHO failed to pass along warnings from Taiwan on December 31, 2019. The letter adds that this was “likely due to political reasons.”
- China violated International Health Regulations requiring “countries to report the risk of a health emergency within 24 hours.
- On January 14, the WHO “gratuitously affirmed the now-debunked claim that the coronavirus could not be transmitted between humans.”
- “On January 21, 2020, President Xi Jinping reportedly pressured you not to declare the coronavirus outbreak an emergency. You gave into this pressure the next day and told the world that the coronavirus did not pose a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”
- Even after declaring an emergency, it took over two weeks to get a team on the ground in China where they were prevented from visiting Wuhan “until the final days of their visit.”
- “You also strongly praised China’s strict travel restrictions but were “inexplicably against my closing of the United States border…”
- On March 3, the WHO cited official Chinese data… “telling the world that ‘COVID-19 does not transmit as efficiently as influenza.”
- By the time you finally declared the virus a pandemic on March 11, 2020, “it has killed more than 4,000 people and infected over 100,000 people in at least 114 countries.”
- “The WHO has failed to call upon China to allow for an independent investigation into the origins of the virus…”
The president writes that the WHO “could have done so much better” before praising the conduct of a former Chairman who presided during the SARS outbreak writing, “Many lives could have been saved had you followed Dr. Brundtland’s example.”
President Trump concludes,
“It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world. The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China.”
“That is why it is my duty, as President of the United States, to inform you that, if the World Health Organization does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization. I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America’s interests.
Donald J. Trump”