President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his administration is looking into putting “a very powerful hold” on U.S. funding to the World Health Organization, saying the group “called it wrong” in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the White House, President Trump slammed the W.H.O. for opposing his travel ban to China earlier in the outbreak and suggested America was not getting a return on its investment to the organization.
“The W.H.O., that’s the World Health Organization, receives vast amounts of money from the United States and we pay for a majority — the biggest portion of their money,” the president said. “They actually criticized and disagreed with my travel ban at the time I did it, and they were wrong.”
“They’ve been wrong about a lot of things,” President Trump continued, saying the WHO “had a lot of information early” and criticizing the group for appearing “to be very China-centric.”
The president added, “So we will be looking into that very carefully, and we will put a hold on money spent to the W.H.O. We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it, and we’re going to see. It is a great thing if it works, but when they call every shot wrong, that is no good.”
BREAKING: @realDonaldTrump announces hold on U.S. funding to the World Health Organization. "They called it wrong. They missed the call….We're gonna put a hold on money spend to the WHO." pic.twitter.com/umI88MIK28
— The HighWire (@HighWireTalk) April 7, 2020
Earlier in the day, President Trump tweeted, “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?”
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
Fox News reported that America “is the single largest contributor to the WHO,” and noted that in 2017 — the most recent budget numbers available — the U.S. covered nearly one quarter of the organization’s budget with a contribution of more than $500 million.