KEY POINTS

  • Trump said he's halting U.S. funding for the World Health Organization
  • He again alleges WHO remains China-centric
  • He blames WHO for a “20-fold” increase in COVID-19 cases worldwide

The World Health Organization (WHO) will have to rely on its traditional donors to compensate for the more than $280 million in funding from the United States that will be lost should president Donald Trump push through with his threat made Tuesday to "halt" or pause U.S. funding for the organization. Trump also said the pause will continue pending a review of the initial WHO response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Total voluntary contributions to WHO amounted to $2.24 billion in 2018. The U.S. was the biggest donor followed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ($229 million), the United Kingdom ($205 million), the GAVI Alliance ($159 million) and Germany ($155 billion). WHO lists its traditional top donors as the U.S., the United Nations, the Republic of Korea, Australia and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The U.S. has contributed only $57.8 million to WHO so far this year.

Trump on Tuesday threatened to pause U.S. funding for WHO. He also said he'd launch an investigation into what he claims as the lead role of WHO in “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus," especially the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China.

"I'm instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the world health organization's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus," Trump said.

“With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns about whether America's generosity has been put to the best use possible," he added. The U.S. President also said the organization failed to "adequately obtain and share information," noting the virus could've been contained had WHO been more transparent.

He again criticized WHO for its alleged bias in favor of China. Without citing proof, he claimed WHO "pushed China's misinformation about the virus...and there was no need for travel bans."

On April 7, Trump complained about the WHO being “China-centric." He wrongly claimed the U.S. sends $500 million a year to WHO. He then said he's looking into cutting funding “very carefully."

At Tuesday’s White House coronavirus briefing, he also alleged WHO “failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable. The WHO failed to investigate credible reports from sources in Wuhan that conflicted directly with the Chinese government's official accounts."

Trump added that he's going to "channel" that money to places that need it.

US president Donald Trump and WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus disagree over alleged 'politicising' of the COVID-19 pandemic U.S. President Donald Trump and WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus disagree over alleged 'politicising' of the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: AFPTV / Eloi ROUYER

Criticized for initially downplaying and remaining inactive as COVID-19 took root in the U.S., Trump keeps pointing to his decision to impose travel restrictions on China as proof he responded early to warnings about the dangers of COVID-19.

He claims his decision saved “thousands and thousands of lives,” even as WHO “fought us.” He blamed WHO for a “20-fold” increase in COVID-19 cases worldwide. Oddly, Trump in January praised China and its president Xi Jinping for their transparency as regards the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. He also said China had the outbreak under control at the time.