President Donald Trump sent a letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), threatening to permanently suspend funding to the organization unless it demonstrates substantial improvements.
On April 14, the U.S. suspended contributions to the WHO after the Trump administration deemed the organization’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak a failure. A U.S. investigation into the WHO confirmed an alarming connection between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the WHO.
The top concern cited in the letter to Ghebreyesus was the WHO’s inability to independently investigate the spread of the virus in Wuhan, instead parroting reports from the Chinese government.
“The World Health Organization consistently ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier, including reports from the Lancet medical journal,” the letter reads. “The World Health Organization failed to independently investigate credible reports that conflicted directly with the Chinese governments official accounts, even those that came from sources within Wuhan itself.”
The letter also called out the WHO for grossly inaccurate and misleading claims about the coronavirus. On Jan. 14, the WHO repeated the CCP’s debunked claim that the coronavirus could not be transmitted between humans.
“Preliminary investigation conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus identified in Wuhan, China,” the WHO said.
The Trump administration also blamed the WHO for bowing down to the desires of the CCP.
“On January 21, 2020, President Xi Jinping of China reportedly pressured you not to declare the coronavirus outbreak an emergency. You gave in to this pressure the next day and told the world that the coronavirus did not pose a Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” the letter reads. “Just over one week later, on January 30, 2020, overwhelming evidence to the contrary forced you to reverse course.”
The letter also addressed the political “gamesmanship” of the WHO during an apolitical global pandemic. The WHO praised the Chinese government’s strict domestic travel restrictions but was against Trump’s decision to close the U.S. border.
“Your political gamesmanship on this issue was deadly, as other governments, relying on your comments, delayed imposing life-saving restrictions on travel to and from China,” the letter reads.
The letter also points out the WHO’s past successes, recalling the organization’s response to the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, outbreak. Trump places the blame for the poor coronavirus response on Ghebreyesus, not the WHO at large.
The letter says the only way forward is for the WHO to demonstrate its independence from China and reform the organization. If it refuses to commit to major improvements, the United States will make the temporary funding freeze permanent.
“If the World Health Organization does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization. I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America’s interest,” Trump concluded.