Pelosi says Trump decision on WHO will be ‘swiftly challenged’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is vowing to challenge President Trump’s decision to halt U.S. funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), a controversial move that comes as the coronavirus outbreak continues to ravage the globe.

Pelosi did not provide details Wednesday of how she will respond, but she did make it clear she vehemently disagrees with the president’s decision.

“This decision is dangerous, illegal and will be swiftly challenged,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Trump in a Tuesday announcement blamed the WHO for “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” while stating that the U.S. is halting its payments — between $400 million and $500 million a year — to the organization.

In particular, he blamed the premier international health organization for being too closely intertwined with China, stating that WHO failed to “adequately obtain” and “share information in a timely and transparent fashion.”

Beijing has come under fire for allegedly covering up the spread of the virus and the severity of the pathogen at the start of the outbreak, with government officials initially claiming that it could not be transmitted between humans.

Pelosi, in her statement, described Trump’s decision as “senseless” and implied he was simply seeking to blame others as he faces criticism for not responding to the pandemic fast enough. 

“We can only be successful in defeating this global pandemic through a coordinated international response with respect for science and data,” she continued.

“But sadly, as he has since Day One, the President is ignoring global health experts, disregarding science and undermining the heroes fighting on the frontline, at great risk to the lives and livelihoods of Americans and people around the world,” the statement said.

Republicans, meanwhile, largely praise Trump for the move, while experts, Democrats and other countries urge him to reverse his decision amid the crisis. Some are calling for Trump to wait to review the WHO’s response to the virus until after the crisis passes.

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an interview Wednesday that they continue to have a strong working relationship with WHO, despite the president’s recent announcement.

“[The] CDC and WHO have had a long history of working together in multiple outbreaks throughout the world as we continue to do in this one,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said on ABC News’s “Good Morning America.”

“We’ve had a very productive public health relationship. We continue to have that,” he added.

The head of WHO, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Wednesday the organization regrets the president’s decision to suspend funding and hopes that the U.S. will continue to work with them.

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi WHO funding World Health Organization

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