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President Trump announced Tuesday that the U.S. is placing a hold on funding to the World Health Organization for 60–90 days over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, pending a review.

Driving the news: Trump accused the WHO of "severely mismanaging and covering up" the coronavirus crisis, adding that the U.S. "has a duty to insist on full accountability."

  • "With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible," Trump said at a briefing in the Rose Garden.
  • "If we cannot trust them, if this is what we will receive from the WHO, our country will be forced to find other ways to work with other nations to achieve public health goals." 

By the numbers: The WHO's 2018–2019 budget was about $6 billion, and the U.S. is by far the biggest donor of any country, contributing more than $400 million to the organization last year.

  • "American taxpayers provided between $400 million and $500 million per year to the WHO. In contrast, China contributes roughly $40 million a year, or even less," Trump said Tuesday.
  • "As the organization’s leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability. One of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the WHO was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other nations.”

Behind the scenes: Trump has been fuming for days about what he sees as the WHO's botched response to the pandemic and its deference to China.

  • "The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look," Trump tweeted last week.
  • Trump's national security team has rallied behind him, believing that the U.S. needed to go beyond public statements and make the WHO feel some pain for its missteps, according to officials involved in the internal discussions.
  • Our thought bubble: The decision gives Trump somebody else to blame and a way to deflect from his own missteps in handling the virus.

Details: Below are some of Trump's specific complaints, which he said led him to his decision to freeze U.S. funding:

  • "The WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion. ... The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable."
  • "The WHO failed to investigate credible reports from sources in Wuhan that conflicted directly with the Chinese government’s official accounts. There was credible information to suspect human-to-human transmission in December 2019, which should have spurred the WHO to investigate."
  • "Through the middle of January, it parroted and publicly endorsed the idea that there was not human-to-human transmission happening, despite reports and clear evidence to the contrary. "
  • "The delays the WHO experienced in declaring a public health emergency cost valuable time, tremendous amounts of time."
  • "The inability of the WHO to obtain virus samples to this day has deprived the scientific community of essential data."
  • "The WHO has not addressed a single one of these concerns nor provided a serious explanation that acknowledges its own mistakes, of which there were many."

Background: Over the past week, officials within the White House's Office of Management and Budget have been working on a menu of options for how to snub the WHO. Trump administration officials told Axios the options fall along two tracks.

  • The most likely route is to reprogram U.S. funding that was allocated to the WHO, moving it to other international organizations that can administer it for comparable purposes, officials said.
  • A more dramatic, but less likely, approach is to send a rescissions package to Congress, rescinding from the federal budget funds already allocated to WHO. A similar approach was adopted in 2017 when the U.S. cut $285 million from its funding to the United Nations.
  • Trump did not reveal on Tuesday which mechanism he will use to halt funding to the organization.

What they're saying: António Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, to which the WHO reports, said in a statement, "Now is a time for unity in the global battle to push the COVID-19 pandemic into reverse, not a time to cut the resources of the ... WHO, which is spearheading and coordinating the global body’s efforts."

Go deeper: Aides prepare options for Trump to shun WHO over coronavirus

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Cuomo asks New York AG and chief judge to choose "independent" investigator into sexual harassment claims

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on Feb. 24. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

A special counselor to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement Sunday asking the state's attorney general and chief judge to jointly pick an "independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation" to investigate claims of sexual harassment against the governor. The AG's office subsequently turned down the offer, saying it wants to conduct its own probe.

The state of play: The statement is an about-face from Cuomo, who had previously selected a former judge close to a top aide to lead the investigation, the New York Times reported, a move that was widely criticized.

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

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