President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Saturday that his administration may partially fund the World Health Organization one month after he abruptly halted U.S. contributions during the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. may send 10% of “what we have been paying over many years, matching much lower China payments,” Trump wrote, calling the plan “just one of numerous concepts being considered.”
Trump has pinned the massive scale of the outbreak in part on the global public health organization, claiming without evidence that it was too lenient on China as the virus began spreading there. The president has steadfastly refused to take any responsibility for the U.S. government’s slow response, despite the unprecedented loss of American lives.
Until April, the U.S. was the WHO’s largest contributor, sending $400 million in 2019 ― or roughly 15% of the group’s overall budget.
The group needs more funding than ever to help combat the devastating pandemic, and Trump’s decision was met with widespread condemnation at home and abroad.
Trump’s message on restoring funding came in response to a tweet by Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, a vocal supporter of the president. Dobbs appeared concerned over a report from Fox News political commentator Tucker Carlson, who suggested Trump would make the funding decision imminently, citing a draft of the letter he received.
“Top WH Advisors are working for whom exactly?” Dobbs wrote. “Surely not for our historic President or this great nation.” Trump appeared to assure him otherwise.
The president’s letter to WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explicitly says the U.S. will “agree to pay up to what China pays,” according to Fox News. Trump also tells the director that he sees “tremendous potential” in WHO, “despite shortcomings,” and states that “China owes a massive debt to the entire world.”
American funds earmarked for the WHO have been frozen over the last month as administration officials discussed what to do with the money.
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