Trump restoring partial funding to WHO Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 1, 2021

President Donald Trump is restoring some funding to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The restoration comes barely a month after Mr. Trump announced on April 14 that funding would be suspended while the government reportedly investigates the WHO’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The suspension of funding to WHO in the middle of a pandemic was widely condemned within and outside of the United States.

In what seemed like an effort to blame everyone else for his bungled response to COVID-19 in the United States, Mr. Trump accused WHO of being too “China-centric” and of hiding information about the pandemic earlier in January.

But the WHO’s COVID-19 timeline has shown that the Organization sounded the alarm early enough in January and sounded it often.

As the organization was sounding the alarm and Trump’s own officials kept warning about what was coming, the former entertainer businessman turned politician kept downplaying the severity of the threat.

He called the COVID-19 a hoax and claimed he had it under control, and later added that it would soon disappear. By the time he realized the seriousness of the crisis, the virus had been spreading in the United States for a long time.

Late drastic actions came too late. As a result, close to 90,000 Americans have been killed by COVID-19 while over a million others remain infected.

Mr. Trump’s favorite conservative television network on Friday night quoted a five-page draft letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus obtained by “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, as saying the administration will “agree to pay up to what China pays in assessed contributions” to the WHO.

“We’re told the president supposedly has agreed to sign the letter if he hasn’t already,” host Tucker Carlson said Friday. “It’d be interesting to know who convinced him to do that.”

A senior administration official confirmed to “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that Trump has agreed to the plan set out in the draft letter.

“Despite [its] shortcomings, I believe that the WHO still has tremendous potential, and want to see the WHO live up to this potential, particularly now during this global crisis” the draft letter reads.

“That is why I’ve decided the United States will continue to partner and work with the WHO …” it adds. “China owes a massive debt to the entire world, and it can start with paying its fair share to the WHO.”

Fox News said “Previous U.S. funding of the WHO amounted to about $400 million per year. If the U.S. does match China’s contributions, the new funding level will be about one-tenth of that amount.”

“If China increases its funding to the WHO,” the letter adds, “we will consider matching those increases.”

According to the network, “the draft letter begins by stating that the U.S. review of the WHO’s coronavirus response “has confirmed many of the concerns I [Trump] raised last month and identified others.” It concludes by calling for “commonsense reforms of the WHO,” including “a universal review mechanism to publicly report on member state compliance with International Health Regulations … including timely and effective declarations of Public Health Emergencies of International Concern.”

The draft also says the WHO and its Director-General must be “insulat[ed] … from political pressure in relation to public health decisions and participation in WHO meetings” and calls for “a fully independent assessment of the origin of this virus and the WHO COVID-19 response.”

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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