Trump threatens to defund UN health agency forever unless it does what he wants

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Trump sent a letter riddled with false accusations to the World Health Organization, which has led the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Donald Trump on Monday sent a letter to the World Health Organization threatening a permanent funding freeze, falsely accusing the organization of not taking the coronavirus seriously and being too laudatory of China's mitigation efforts.

In a four-page letter, Trump said the WHO "consistently ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019" and condemned the organization for "praising China for its alleged 'transparency.'"

The organization, however, warned early on about how dangerous the coronavirus was and urged countries to start taking steps to stop its spread. It was Trump who initially downplayed the virus's threat and praised China for its transparency.

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"China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency," Trump wrote in a tweet on Jan. 24. "It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!"

Trump was also saying, well into March, that the coronavirus wasn't a threat and that it would miraculously disappear, even as it was clear to health experts the deadly virus was spreading within the United States.

Multiple reports say Trump ignored warnings from his own intelligence sources about the virus and wasted more than two months that experts say could have stopped the spread of the virus — which has now killed more than 90,000 people in the United States.

Trump has been trying to find a scapegoat for his own administration's failed coronavirus response for months.

On April 14, Trump announced he was freezing funding to the WHO pending a review of their coronavirus response.

His letter Monday night purports to include his administration's findings from the review. It also said the funding freeze could be permanent if the WHO doesn't make changes Trump demanded.

"The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China," Trump wrote, adding that if the WHO "does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze ... permanent."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.