After spending most of last week blaming the World Health Organization (WHO) for what he perceives as its failure at handling the coronavirus outbreak and being too “China-centric”, Donald Trump has actually followed through with his threat and instructed his administration to halt funding to the WHO.
“I am directing my administration to halt funding while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” Mr Trump told a news conference at the White House.
“With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible,” the president said.
“The WHO failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable,” he added.
Now if this is vaguely familiar to you, it’s because you’ve seen this kind of reasoning before. It’s the same kind of reasoning you had as a child.
In spite of his criticism of the WHO, this news comes as a shock given just how vital the WHO is in the worlds efforts to get on top of the Covid-19 pandemic. The US is the WHO’s biggest single funder, providing $400m last year alone. If this isn’t an example of Trump’s “America first” approach to the pandemic, I don’t know what is.
News of this will surely not sit well with other world leaders and given that they’re already annoyed with Trump, this could be the final straw in their tolerance of the president.