President Trump threatened to permanently withdraw US funding from the World Health Organization on Monday as he described failures amid the coronavirus pandemic and an "alarming lack of independence" from China. Trump, writing to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also threatened to pull the US from the organization "so clearly not serving America's interests" if it does not "commit to major substantive improvements in the next 30 days," per CNN. Trump said the WHO repeatedly made "grossly inaccurate or misleading" claims about the virus, including in reaffirming "China's now-debunked claim that the coronavirus could not be transmitted between humans." "The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China," Trump wrote on official White House letterhead.
Trump accused the organization of "political gamesmanship" as officials "strongly praised China's strict domestic travel restrictions, but were inexplicably against my closing of the United States border" to people from China. Trump also attacked the WHO last month in suspending US funding pending an internal review. He said the group that received $453 million from the US in fiscal year 2019, compared to roughly $40 million from China, had missed opportunities to "call out China's lack of transparency" and contain the outbreak "with very little death." The internal review forms the basis of Trump's four-page letter, which came as Chinese President President Xi Jinping pledged $2 billion to the WHO. The move was "seen by foreign-policy experts as an effort to fill a global leadership void brought on by Mr. Trump's moves against the WHO," reports the Wall Street Journal. (Read more President Trump stories.)