WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR/AP) — President Donald Trump announced Tuesday he is instructing his administration to withhold funding for the World Health Organization while the White House investigates the organization’s role in how it handled the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Trump alleges “mismanaging” and “covering up” by the WHO on the virus’ spread.
America provides between $400 and $500 million to the WHO annually, the president said. Trump added China contributes roughly $40 million to the organization per year.
“As the organization’s leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability,” he said. “One of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the WHO was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other nations.”
The president added the WHO’s response put “political correctness above life-saving measures.”
The president says the world depends on the World Health Organization to work with countries to make sure accurate information about health threats are shared in a timely manner.
Trump claims the organization failed to carry out its “basic duty” and must be held accountable.
But Trump says the U.S. will continue to engage with the organization in pursuit of what he calls meaningful reforms.
Trump also said Tuesday that he’s enlisting advisers from nearly all sectors of American commerce, the medical field and elected office to help shape his plans to reopen the coronavirus-battered economy.
The panel of advisers, whom Trump said he will consult by phone, will operate separately from the White House task force that’s leading the administration’s public health strategy to contain and mitigate the pandemic, though there is expected to be some overlap.
The panel, which the White House has dubbed the Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups, includes more than 50 executives and leaders from agricultural, defense and financial service industries, as well as leaders from unions, professional sports, think tanks and more.
The list of executives includes Apple’s Tim Cook, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, all individuals with whom Trump has long-standing relationships. Trump also named some individuals who have been critical of him in the past, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban.
Trump added that he would likely announce on Wednesday the names of elected officials, including governors and members of Congress, whom he would also consult.
The president’s full briefing can be viewed below.