U.S President Donald Trump threatened World Health Organization with permanently cutting off U.S. funding in a letter dated Monday that he shared on Twitter.
Trump said that if the WHO “does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization.”
The president had announced on April 14 he would temporarily suspend U.S. funding to the WHO, accusing the group of being too supportive of China.
It is unclear how Trump would withhold the funds, much of which are appropriated by Congress. The president typically does not have the authority to unilaterally redirect congressional funding.
The renewed threat comes as the Trump administration faces criticism for how it has handled the crisis. The United States is the worst hit country with more than 1.5 million coronavirus cases reported and at least 90,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
In the Monday letter, Trump said the review “confirmed many of the serious concerns I raised last month.” It also outlines what the White House perceived as “repeated missteps” by the organization and its director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The letter echoes Trump’s previous complaint that the WHO resisted issuing a travel advisory in the early days of the outbreak. When the agency declared the situation a global health emergency in late January, Tedros advised countries against imposing “measures that unnecessarily interfere with international trade or travel.”
Trump’s letter also repeats growing scrutiny over how the WHO handled information reported by China. The president previously accused the agency of being “China centric.”
“The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China … I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America’s interests,” the letter said.