Trump says the U.S. will cut ties with World Health Organization

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after he received a 2020 hurricane season briefing during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Washington, May 28, 2020.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Donald Trump announced Friday that the United States will cut ties with the World Health Organization.

“China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year,” Trump said during a press conference from the White House Rose Garden.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the WHO’s response to the coronavirus, which has hit the U.S. worse than any other country, amid scrutiny of his own administration’s response to the pandemic.

Earlier this month, Trump threatened to permanently cut off U.S. funding of the WHO. In a letter, he said that if the WHO “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.”

On Friday, Trump said WHO “failed to make the requested greatly needed reform” and the U.S. “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.”

The WHO’s funding runs in two-year budget cycles. For the 2018 and 2019 funding cycle, the U.S. paid a $237 million required assessment as well as $656 million in voluntary contributions, averaging $446 million a year and representing about 14.67% of its total budget, according to WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic. 

On May 20, WHO officials said they worried emergency programs will suffer if the president permanently pulled U.S. funding from the international agency.

Most funding from the United States goes directly out to the program that helps countries in “all sorts of fragile and difficult settings,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said at the time. 

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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