CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: After last week's threat, Trump decides to cut WHO funding

The President of the United States said his administration will conduct a "thorough" investigation that should last 60 to 90 days.

Coronavirus: After last week's threat, Trump decides to cut WHO funding

On Tuesday April 14, President Donald Trump decided to suspend funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) after his accusations last week of them being too biased with China during the coronavirus pandemic.

This decision by the U.S. President was strongly criticised by Democratic lawmakers but Trump argues that the “role of WHO in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”

“Today 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 at a White House press conference.

Trump also claims that since WHO “failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion” he made the right decision by “fortunately suspending travel from China which led to saving an untold number of lives because he was not convinced by WHO.”

"The White House knows that it grossly mishandled this crisis from the beginning, ignoring multiple warnings and squandering valuable time, dismissing medical science, comparing Covid-19 to the common cold, and saying 'everything will be fine,’ but not wanting to take responsibility as the cases continue to grow, Trump is blaming others,” said Senator Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The decision could be reverted

One option might be for Trump to use powers granted to the president under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Under this statute, the president may propose to withhold congressional funds, but it requires congressional approval within 45 days. In the absence of this approval, the funds must be returned to their original, congressionally mandated purpose after 45 days.

The US is the biggest contributor to the WHO's budget in the world. Trump's fiscal 2021 budget request proposed cutting funding from $122 million to about $58 million.