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Trump says World Health Organization 'really blew it' on coronavirus, seeks funding freeze

'They called it wrong. They really missed the call,' Trump said.

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World Health Organization logo
World Health Organization logo
(Fabrice Coffrini / Getty Image)
Updated: April 7, 2020 - 11:00pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

President Trump said the United States would consider putting a freeze on taxpayer funds going to the World Health Organization (WHO), saying Tuesday that the organization misled Americans about the threat posed by the coronavirus.

"We will look at ending funding," Trump said at a daily White House coronavirus task force briefing. "We give a majority of the money that they get. They really called it wrong. They called it wrong. They really missed the call. They could have called it months earlier, they would have known. They should have known, and they probably did know. So we'll be looking into that very carefully, and we're going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We're going to put a very powerful hold, and we're going to see. It's a great thing if it works. But when they call every shot wrong, that's no good."

Trump said that the WHO had a track record of being too "China centric."

"If you look back over the years, they've very much, everything seems to very biased toward China," he said. "That's not right."

"The W.H.O. really blew it," Trump tweeted earlier today. "For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?"

The WHO's ties to China have come under scrutiny by The Wall Street Journal and others.

"Taiwanese officials warned WHO on Dec. 31 that they had seen evidence that the virus could be transmitted human-to-human," the Journal's editorial board wrote. "But the agency, bowing to Beijing, doesn’t have a normal relationship with Taiwan.

On Jan. 14 WHO tweeted: "Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.' The agency took another week to reverse that misinformation ... China’s influence over WHO has been organized and consistent, whereas the U.S. response has been haphazard. Washington needs a quarterback to lead the fight against Chinese dominance at WHO and other international organizations." 

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