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Trump formally starts US withdrawal from WHO – here’s what’s next

President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Trump announced that he has instructed his administration to halt funding to the World Health Organization. (Stefani Reynolds/Pool/Sipa USA/TNS)
July 07, 2020

President Donald Trump initiated the official process of withdrawing the U.S. from the United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) indicated in a Tuesday tweet.

“Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic,” Menendez tweeted. “To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn’t do it justice. This won’t protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone.”

An unnamed State Department source told CNN that Trump submitted the withdrawal letter to the UN, which is effective as of July 6, 2021. The notice sets out a year long timeline for the U.S. to leave the WHO.

CNN further indicated, based on comments from a UN diplomat, that the withdrawal decision could be reversed if Trump loses the election in November.

The latest Trump administration action would finalized a decision Trump announced at the end of May, that the U.S. would be leaving the WHO amid concerns about the organization’s close ties with China during the global coronavirus outbreak.

Trump initially announced a freeze of U.S. funds to the WHO, calling on the organization to cut ties with China and initiate reforms, but announced in May that the U.S. would make the spending freeze permanent and would begin redirecting WHO funds “to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”

Other Republicans have also criticized the WHO during the coronavirus outbreak.

In April Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) called for an investigation into the WHO, and accused the organization of failing to notify the world of the severity of the coronavirus in a timely manner.

“We know Communist China is lying about how many cases and deaths they have, what they knew and when they knew it – and the WHO never bothered to investigate further. Their inaction cost lives,” Scott said in April.

Critics of the WHO have also noted a January tweet by the organization, indicating “no clear evidence of a human-to-human transmission of the virus.

“Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China,” the WHO tweeted as cases spread to countries around the world.

Reports have further suggested China pressured the WHO to delay the decision to declare the coronavirus a global health emergency.

Other indicators of the WHO’s close ties with the Chinese government have also resurfaced during the outbreak. One example of the WHO’s questionable ties to China may be found in their choice of Goodwill Ambassadors, the wife of China’s leader Xi Jinping and a Chinese state media anchor who broadcast the forced confession of a British national accused of stealing the private data of Chinese citizens.