May 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump softens on cutting funding to WHO

In this image, Trump walks and wears a suit
Trump on the South Lawn of the White House on May 15. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday said the administration is weighing a plan to allocate some funding to the World Health Organization, although he noted that a final decision has not been made.

Flashback: Trump announced last month that the U.S. would hold funding to the agency for 60–90 days over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, pending a review.

What's new: Trump appeared to confirm a draft letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus detailed in a Fox News exclusive — which said the administration would "agree to pay up to what China pays in assessed contributions" to the WHO. Trump said that is one of many plans currently being considered.

  • He added that all funds to the WHO remain frozen.
  • The White House declined to comment further.

Where it stands: China's contributions to the WHO from 2018-2019 amounted to $86 million, while the U.S. gave $893 million — 14.67% of the WHO's total funding.

Between the lines: Trump's team began to present options to restrict funding to WHO last month — from outright cuts to redirecting funding, Axios' Alayna Treene and Jonathan Swan reported.

  • Trump claimed in April that the WHO "probably" knew about the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic months before the agency sounded the alarm.
  • The WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 30 — 9 days after the CDC confirmed the first case in the U.S. and 10 days after South Korea announced its first case.
  • The WHO did not declare the coronavirus a pandemic until March 11, after 114 countries had reported cases.

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