The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that the U.S. is withdrawing from the World Health Organization.
Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted that Congress received notification of the decision, lamenting how the move comes during the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” the New Jersey Democrat wrote.
A senior administration official confirmed to the Washington Examiner that the notice of withdrawal had been submitted.
“The United States’s notice of withdrawal, effective July 6, 2021, has been submitted to the U.N. secretary-general, who is the depository for the WHO,” the official said.
President Trump has been promising to leave the WHO for some time now in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and his accusations that the United Nations agency is too cozy with China.
Trump announced his plan to suspend funding from the WHO on April 14, and then he declared a temporary freeze on U.S. funding to the organization in May, threatening a “permanent” halt without “substantive improvements.” The U.S. is the largest annual contributor to the WHO, accounting for about 15% of the organization’s budget, with roughly $400 million.
The President sent a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in May, saying his administration’s review of the WHO revealed “an alarming lack of independence from the People’s Republic of China.”
Trump accused the WHO of “consistently ignoring credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier.” He said the WHO “probably” did not share key information about the coronavirus for “political reasons.”
Last week, the WHO backtracked on its assertion that the Chinese government had alerted it about the coronavirus outbreak, which has been traced back to Wuhan, China.