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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

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 21 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.

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