President Trump announced he will halt funding of the World Health Organization while the United States reviews its “role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of coronavirus.”
Trump said the U.S. contributes $400 million to $500 million a year to the U.N.’s health body, which has been criticized for slow-walking its response to the spread of the coronavirus from its origins in Wuhan, China. The WHO waited until March 11 to upgrade what it classified as a health emergency to pandemic status.
At his Coronavirus Task Force briefing Tuesday, Trump accused the organization of pushing “China’s misinformation about the virus.”
"Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death," Trump said.
Trump said his administration would review the WHO over the next 30 to 60 days.
The U.S. leads the world in confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, with 602,989 according to Johns Hopkins University. This past week the U.S. also reported the most deaths, with 23,644 as of Tuesday.
Trump's rhetoric is a 180. In the past, he has called the coronavirus crisis a "hoax" and something akin to the flu.
He's also changed his tune on China: In January Trump praised President Xi Jinping for his "transparency" in his regime's response to the coronavirus, and in February he described Xi's leadership as "strong, sharp, and powerfully focused."
"China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!,” he wrote on Twitter.
Cover: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 14, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)