(USA Features) The Trump administration is considering options to cut funding to the World Health Organization in the wake of the Wuhan coronavirus.
Critics including President Donald Trump have blamed the WHO for helping China allegedly cover up the worst effects of the virus, which they say contributed to its spread globally, increasing the death rate.
Officials in the administration are looking at two pathways to cut WHO’s funding, including redirecting funds to other public health groups with similar objectives or proposing a financial package to Congress that revokes WHO funding that has already been allocated.
“We’re not anticipating doing that action with Congress not being around,” an official told the news outlet. “We’re looking for action that can be done very quickly.”
The Washington Examiner reported that a senior administration official confirmed Tuesday that the Office of Management and Budget “has been working to provide options for stopping the funds.” The official also noted that the president will make a final decision this week.
Last week, Trump criticized the WHO for giving “faulty recommendations” as to how the United States should respond to the coronavirus pandemic, calling them “China-centric” and threatening to slash funding.
“The WHO really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China-centric. We will be giving that a good look,” the president said.
“Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?”
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has repeatedly heaped praise on China’s efforts to contain the virus, including following a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in late January.
“Stopping the spread of this virus both in China and globally is WHO’s highest priority,” Tedros said. “We appreciate the seriousness with which China is taking this outbreak, especially the commitment from top leadership, and the transparency they have demonstrated, including sharing data and genetic sequence of the virus.”