UN head responds to Trump: ‘Not the time’ to reduce funds for WHO
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday pushed back on President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will pull funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), saying the coronavirus pandemic is “not the time” for such a move.
In a statement, Guterres said it was “not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus.” The WHO is part of the U.N.
“Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,” the U.N. secretary-general added, according to Reuters.
Trump said earlier Tuesday evening that the U.S. would halt funding to the WHO and conduct a 60- to 90-day review “to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”
The president also condemned the WHO for its praise of China’s handling of the coronavirus as it emerged, although Trump himself also spoke positively of China at the time.
Numerous other people and institutions have warned Trump against the move to cut WHO funding, with the American Medical Association (AMA) calling it a “dangerous step in the wrong direction.”
“Fighting a global pandemic requires international cooperation and reliance on science and data. Cutting funding to the WHO – rather than focusing on solutions – is a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world,” the AMA said in a statement.
Numerous Democratic lawmakers have also criticized the announcement.
“The White House knows that it grossly mishandled this crisis from the beginning, ignoring multiple warnings and squandering valuable time, dismissing medical science, comparing COVID-19 to the common cold, and saying ‘everything will be fine,’ ” Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), the senior Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Tuesday. “Not wanting to take responsibility as the deaths continue to mount, he blames others.”
“He wants this to be about other countries so he doesn’t have to explain why South Korea and the USA got hit with their first cases at the same time, but South Korea prevented mass deaths,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) added.
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