U.S. Officials Warn Halting WHO Funding Could Hurt Global Standing, Threaten American Lives
President Donald Trump denounced the World Health Organization on Tuesday, announcing that their errors in judgment would result in the U.S. temporarily halting aid to the group to evaluate whether doing so in the future is in the nation’s best interests.
Trump said that WHO was largely responsible for the coronavirus pandemic currently sweeping the globe, while touting his own decision to close travel from China early in the crisis to halt the spread of the disease in the U.S. Yet Trump has failed to explain how that decision did anything beyond that action to quell the pandemic’s spread here, other than to delay it, and he’s largely ignored media questions about what he did from January 31 to March 6, a period of time when preparing for the disease would have been incredibly beneficial.
Indeed, had Trump actually taken actions on the disease — specifically, announcing stay-in-place restrictions even just one week earlier than he did — tens of thousands of American lives would have been saved, according to recent research by a pair of epidemiologists.
It appears that the decision to halt WHO funding, even temporarily, will also cause harm to America’s interests, according to an internal memo from U.S. officials that was sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The memorandum, according to Pro Publica, warned that cutting funding to WHO risked hurting the country’s standing in the world, and could also threaten the lives of Americans abroad.
Trump’s decision to cut funds from the World Health Organization—which is on the front lines of researching and delivering treatments for coronavirus—is deeply reckless and does nothing to distract from his mismanagement of this crisis from the beginning.https://t.co/s2okefVgdd
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 15, 2020
“Current discussions regarding pausing U.S. assistance to the WHO to combat the pandemic risks not only further undermining our ability to help host governments address urgent needs, but also undermines the U.S. narrative of a long-standing partner at precisely the time posts are most reliant on that narrative,” the memo said.
Funding cuts could hurt in another way: they could, in fact, give foreign powers an opening to gain influence elsewhere in the world.
Halting the funding to WHO “risks undermining the U.S. narrative of a long-standing health leader, ceding ground to” China, the memo added.