WHO responds to Trump, says it regrets US move

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday it regrets President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE's decision to suspend funding and hopes that the U.S. will reverse the decision.

"We regret the decision of the president of the United States to order a halt in funding to the World Health Organization," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, at a news briefing.

"The United States of America has been a longstanding and generous friend to WHO and we hope it will continue to be so," he added.


Tedros said the WHO is "assessing" the impact on its funding and "we will try to fill any gaps with partners."

He declined to provide more details on the impact, citing an assessment that needs to take place.

Trump announced Tuesday that he was suspending U.S. payments, blaming the WHO for what he called a lackluster response to the coronavirus.

The president said the U.S. was putting a halt to the $400 million to $500 million it provides each year to the WHO, which has a total biennial budget of about  $6 billion.

He blamed the organization for opposing travel bans, like the one he imposed on travelers from China, and said it lacked transparency and relied on assurances from the Chinese.

Trump's decision drew swift condemnation from Democrats and health groups, some of whom said Trump was simply looking for a scapegoat for his own slow response to the virus while acknowledging an imperfect response from the WHO.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Overnight Health Care: CDC expands definition of 'close contact' after COVID-19 report | GOP coronavirus bill blocked in Senate | OxyContin maker agrees to B settlement with Trump administration MORE (D-Calif.) said Wednesday Trump's move is "dangerous, illegal and will be swiftly challenged."

Updated at 12:02 p.m.