The news broke on Tuesday, and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) tweeted, “Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the WHO in the midst of a pandemic.”
Menendez added, “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.”
A senior administration official also confirmed the reports. The withdrawal is effective as of Monday, as The Hill reports.
Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic.— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) July 7, 2020
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 decision to pull the United States out of the WHO has been in the political conversation for months. In late May, Trump announced, “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”
However, Congress was not notified of the change until this week.
In mid-May, Trump sent a letter to the WHO, saying that he intended to pull the United States out of the group, citing the coronavirus and accusing the WHO of working hand-in-hand with the Chinese.
The WHO was founded just after World War II and it is a branch of the United Nations. And while the group seems massive, their budget is dwarfed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s budget.
The United States is the largest government contributor to the WHO, making up around 20% of its budget for 2018 and 2019, according to NPR.
In addition to nations, nonprofit groups also make up some of the funding for the WHO. Recently, the largest nonprofit funder has been the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which pumped in over $530 million to the WHO budget of 2018 and 2019.