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President Trump announced Friday that the U.S. is “terminating” its relationship with the World Health Organization over its failure to enact reforms in response to the administration’s criticisms of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today be terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” Trump said at a press conference.
The announcement comes after Trump had threatened to cut U.S. funding to the WHO, alleging that the organization had helped China conceal the severity of the initial coronavirus outbreak in the city of Wuhan. The president noted that the U.S. government provides the WHO with roughly $450 million a year, compared with China’s annual contribution of $40 million.
Last week, Health Secretary Alex Azar blamed the WHO for mishandling the emerging pandemic.
“We must be frank about one of the primary reasons this outbreak spun out of control,” Azar said. “There was a failure by this organization to obtain the information that the world needed, and that failure cost many lives.”