The Trump administration is pulling the United States out of the World Health Organization, as the country faces record-breaking spikes in coronavirus cases.
A state department official confirmed the move to CNN on Tuesday, stating the White House had submitted a formal notice of withdrawal effective July 6, 2021. The letter was submitted to congressional lawmakers as well as the “UN Secretary-General, who is the depository for the WHO.”
President Donald Trump slammed WHO’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in a four-page letter published back in May. POTUS announced the U.S. was suspending funds to the global body as the White House conducted an investigation into WHO’s COVID-19 response—specifically accusing WHO of allowing the Chinese government to coverup the severity of the outbreak.
“The World Health Organization failed to independently investigate credible reports that conflicted directly with the Chinese government’s official accounts, even those that came from sources within Wuhan itself,” he wrote. “Throughout the crisis, the World Health Organization has been curiously insistent on praising China for its alleged ‘transparency.’ You have consistently joined in these tributes, not withstanding that China has been anything by transparent.”
WHO members ultimately agreed to an independent evaluation of the global coronavirus response.
Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of WHO has drawn criticism from U.S. lawmakers and top health officials. The U.S. is the largest contributor to WHO, reportedly giving $400 million per year. Experts warned that the U.S.’s withdrawal from the organization would hurt not just Americans, but the entire world, as many other countries rely on WHO as its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This is an abdication of America’s role as a global leader and it is the opposite of putting America first— it will put America at risk,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in a statement to NBC News. “Refusing to work with our partners across the world to fight this pandemic will only prolong the crisis, further undermine our international standing, and leave us less prepared for future crises. President Trump needs to realize this crisis doesn’t recognize borders and hiding from it or passing the blame won’t make it go away or make him any less responsible.”