President Donald Trump has been adamant that he wanted to see overwhelming reforms by the World Health Organization (WHO) if it wanted continued support from the United States.
After failing to meet his demands, the president announced this week that the United States is officially withdrawing from the World Health Organization, Axios reported.
Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted that Congress received notification of the decision, lamenting how the move comes during the coronavirus pandemic.
“To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn’t do it justice. This won’t protect American lives or interests — it leaves Americans sick & America alone,” the New Jersey Democrat wrote.
“The United States’ notice of withdrawal, effective July 6, 2021, has been submitted to the U.N. secretary-general, who is the depository for the WHO,” a White House official said.
In early June, the president announced that he was planning to “terminate” the relationship between the WHO and the U.S.
“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we 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,” Trump said.
Trump also tore into China over the course of his remarks, slamming the communist nations’ conduct on a number of fronts including trade, the coronavirus, and its recent crackdown on Hong Kong.
“The world is now suffering as a result of the misfeasance of the Chinese government,” Trump said.
“Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities,” he said. “Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted across the globe.”
Targeting the Chinese directly, Trump said he will issue a proclamation to secure university research and to “suspend the entry of certain foreign nationals from China who we have identified as a potential security risk.”
“The rest of the world was electrified by a sense of optimism that Hong Kong was a glimpse of China’s future,” he said, “not that Hong Kong would grow into a reflection of China’s past.”
Back in April, Trump announced the halt in funding, arguing he did not want to send taxpayer money to WHO after their “botched effort” in handling the pandemic and cozy relationship with China, where the coronavirus originated.
“Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death,” Trump said.
Leading U.S. health officials have echoed Trump’s claim, saying foreign nations would have been better prepared to deal with the pandemic had China and world health leaders been more transparent during the early days of the outbreak.