Trump plans to ‘shun’ and defund the World Health Organization: report

Trump plans to ‘shun’ and defund the World Health Organization: report
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

With so many Democrats calling President Donald Trump out over his initial response to the coronavirus pandemic and all the weeks he spent downplaying its severity, Trump and his allies are responding by attacking others — including the World Health Organization (WHO). In Axios, reporters Alayna Treene and Jonathan Swan describe the steps that Trump and his supporters, according to their sources, are taking to “snub” WHO.

According to Treene and Swan, “President Trump’s team will present him imminently with options to snub the World Health Organization over its coronavirus approach — from outright cuts to redirecting funding — people familiar with the plans tell Axios.”

Part of Trump’s anti-WHO game plan during the pandemic has been trying to link WHO with the government of Mainland China. On April 7, Trump tweeted, “The WHO really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look.”

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida and other Trump allies in the GOP, Treene and Swan report, have “asked WHO for an accounting of its early handling of the coronavirus outbreak in China.” And WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has asserted that threatening to cut off WHO funding amounts to Trump’s administration “politicizing COVID.”

Treene and Swan report that officials in Trump’s administration “tell Axios the amount of funding to be withheld has not yet been determined, but that options fall along two tracks.” And those “tracks” are: (1) “reprogram U.S. funds that were allocated for the WHO,” or (2) “send a rescissions package to Congress, rescinding from the federal budget funds already allocated to WHO.”

The Axios reporters point out that the U.S. has been “by far the biggest donor of any country, contributing more than $400 million to the (World Health) Organization” in 2019 . And Treene and Swan write that Trump’s administration believes that WHO “was too deferential to China in the early days of the outbreak, according to three officials.”

An official in Trump’s administration told Axios that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) “is currently identifying resources, figuring out where the monies are and then, drawing up what plans and what options there are for the president — and he will decide. ... The president will decide this week.”

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