U.S. President Donald Trump takes questions as he addresses the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 7, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

During a the now daily Coronavirus briefing earlier today, President Donald Trump used his prepared remarks to emphasize his displeasure with the World Health Organization (WHO). “They’ve [the WHO] been wrong about a lot of things. We’re going to put a hold on money [sent] to the WHO. We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it,” he stated.

The President’s statement marks an abrupt change in US policy. As a result, a number of media organization immediately began to publish stories about the President’s statement, as well as repercussions of holding what amounts to 14.67% of the WHO’s total funding. 

Ten minutes after the President’s initial statement, a White House pool reporters asked a number of clarifying questions.

Reporter 1: Is the time to freeze funding to the WHO during a pandemic?
President: No, maybe not. I’m not saying I’m going to do it. We’re going to look at it.
Reporter 2: But you did say you were going to do it. 
President: No, I didn’t. I said we’re going to look at it and we’re going to investigate it. But we will look at ending funding.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Trump considering suspending funding to WHO – The Hill – April 7, 2020
They missed the call. They could have called it months earlier. They would have known, and they should have known, and they probably did know,” Trump told reporters at a White House press briefing, suggesting the WHO failed to sufficiently warn the global community about the virus.

Trump pledges to put a hold on U.S. funding for the World Health Organization – STAT News – April 7, 2020
The U.S. has provided the agency with $893 million during the agency’s current two-year funding period, which includes about $236 million in dues. That funding accounts for about 14.67% of the WHO’s total funding, according to the organization’s website. The WHO is also notoriously cash-strapped; the annual dues members companies pay to support its annual budget have been frozen for more than a decade.

Trump vows to put ‘very powerful hold’ on US funding to WHO over response to Covid-19 – RT – April 7, 2020
US President Donald Trump has threatened to hold back funding to the World Health Organization, potentially leaving the agency without support from its largest donor as many of its 194 members are being ravaged by the coronavirus. During his daily briefing on the coronavirus situation on Tuesday, Trump unleashed yet another rant at the WHO, arguing that the organization he dubbed “China-centric” was too slow and ineffective in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Senator Ted Cruz on Twitter, 4/8/20 – Actions speak louder than words. @WHO has lost all credibility and its leadership must be reevaluated.

Sara Carter on Twitter, 4/8/20 – WHO Officials Reject Trump’s ‘China-Centric’ Claim via @SaraCarterDC

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