(USA Features) President Donald Trump on Tuesday followed through on previous threats to withhold funding from the World Health Organization after criticizing the agency’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week the president accused WHO’s leaders of being too “China-centric” and failing to warn the world about the potency of the virus in a bid to protect Beijing from criticism.
His decision to withhold funding, for the time being, is being done while his administration conducts a review of the WHO’s actions. He also noted that the U.S. contributes about $400 million a year to WHO, while China only contributes about $40 million.
“The United States has a duty to insist on full accountability,” the president said.
Trump said the WHO covered for China’s Communist leaders who were undercounting and underreporting virus illnesses and deaths.
The president also said hammered the global health agency for opposing his China travel ban, which he imposed in late January in response to the rising pandemic.
“Countless more lives would have been saved. Instead, look at the rest of the world,” he said, citing the rampant spread of the virus in Europe.
Trump said WHO was not utilizing U.S. funding wisely in failing to notify the country earlier about the outbreak.
The freeze will last from 60 to 90 days, the president said.
“This is an evaluation period,” he added.