(The Center Square) – President Donald Trump said Tuesday the U.S. will withhold taxpayer aid to the World Health Organization for its “concerning” response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Had WHO sent health experts into China, where the novel coronavirus outbreak originated late last year, and accurately communicated the seriousness of the disease, “the outbreak could have been contained at is source” and resulted in thousands of fewer deaths, Trump said during the daily press briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
The decision will be re-evaluated after an investigation into WHO’s response into the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 125,000 people globally, including more than 25,000 in the U.S.
Trump has been critical of WHO over the past several weeks, saying it inappropriately criticized him for his early flight restrictions on air travel from China.
U.S. taxpayers have supported WHO with $400 million to $500 million in funding annually.
Trump also announced an agreement with major U.S. airlines to participate in a payroll support program that will preserve the industry but will protect taxpayers, though he didn’t offer specifics.
The president reiterated recent statements that there’s evidence that federal distancing and other guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19 are working.
“I salute the American people for following our federal guidelines,” he said. “Through the darkness we can see the rays of light.”
Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at [email protected]