President Donald Trump's decision on Tuesday to defund the World Health Organization during the global coronavirus pandemic is a "crime against humanity" and "another example of 'America First and to hell with the world as a whole,'" according to various world leaders and leading medical experts.
Trump announced he is suspending payments to the WHO, a United Nations' public health agency, in an attempt to shift blame for his mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis. The United States has the most COVID-19 cases and most COVID-19 deaths worldwide. Trump inaccurately claimed the U.S. gives the WHO $500 million annually.
Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of the 200-year old highly-respected medical journal The Lancet called Trump's move a “crime against humanity,” as Courthouse News reports.
Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder who co-founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a global healthcare and anti-poverty organization, blasted the decision, calling it "as dangerous as it sounds."
Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their… https://t.co/T8diWsSPJg— Bill Gates (@Bill Gates)1586927846.0
Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, denounced Trump's decision, saying there is "no reason justifying this move at a moment when their efforts are needed more than ever."
Deeply regret US decision to suspend funding to @WHO. There is no reason justifying this move at a moment when thei… https://t.co/gz6w3Tu0dp— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@Josep Borrell Fontelles)1586943224.0
Even the very right wing U.S. Chamber of Commerce blasted President Trump for a decision "not in U.S. interests."
“The Chamber supports a reformed but functional World Health Organization, and U.S. leadership and involvement are essential to ensuring its transparency and accountability going forward,” Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of international affairs Myron Brilliant said in a statement, The Hill reported. “However, cutting the WHO’s funding during the COVID-19 pandemic is not in U.S. interests given the organization’s critical role assisting other countries — particularly in the developing world — in their response.”
The President of the American Medical Association, Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, called it "a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world."
“During the worst public health crisis in a century, halting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) is a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating COVID-19 easier," Dr. Harris said in a statement. "Fighting a global pandemic requires international cooperation and reliance on science and data. Cutting funding to the WHO – rather than focusing on solutions – is a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world. The AMA is deeply concerned by this decision and its wide-ranging ramifications, and we strongly urge the President to reconsider.”
Noted UK biologist Richard Dawkins called it "another example of 'America First and to hell with the world as a whole.'"
Just when you thought he couldn’t possibly get any worse he has decided, as usual on a prejudiced personal whim, to… https://t.co/IxJpZFoWEV— Richard Dawkins (@Richard Dawkins)1586964179.0
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: defunding WHO is "illegal" and "especially dangerous."
Democratic U.S. Congressman, a former Obama State Dept. official acknowledged the WHO's "too soft" stance on China but said: "it wasn't the leader of the WHO who called the pandemic a hoax."
I agree with the Trump administration that the World Health Organization leadership was way too soft on China's cov… https://t.co/doMRgfIBNE— Tom Malinowski (@Tom Malinowski)1586965048.0
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for more, not less funding for the UN and the WHO, which has about $2.5 billion annually to address crises.
“One of the best investments is to strengthen the U.N., above all the under-financed WHO,” Maas said.
“Blaming others won’t help,” he added. “The virus knows no borders.”