In his Tuesday press briefing, President Trump suggested a potential hold on the United States’s funding for the World Health Organization, blaming the damage from the coronavirus pandemic on their response (or lack thereof).
“They called it wrong,” Trump said. “They missed the call. They could have called it months earlier. They would have known. And they should’ve known. And they probably did know. So we’ll be looking into that very carefully.”
The U.S. currently has more cases than every country in the world with 455,000 cases, and the second most deaths at 16,300, just behind Italy.
The first confirmed case of coronavirus on U.S. soil was on January 21 in Washington State. And while more cases in the states and in European countries were being confirmed in February and March, Trump downplayed the virus instead of preparing the country.
In another move to divert blame from his administration’s lack of response on the pandemic, Trump also expressed that while the WHO is “funded largely by the U.S.,” it is “very China centric.”
This called for WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to ask for “honest leadership” from both the U.S. and China, stating all its member countries are equals.
“It exploits the differences you have at the national level,” Tedros on the politicization of the virus. “If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.”
Trump’s statements against WHO have also encouraged Republican House members to introduce a bill Tuesday, which calls for the withholding of federal funds to the organization, Tedros’s resignation, and an investigation into WHO’s handling of the coronavirus. It has since been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Photo: Corey Sipkin/AFP/Getty Images