“I am a cheerleader for the United States” reassured the President of the United States.
FIRST, he suggested it, later he denied it, and now he has left the notion up in the air. Yesterday, Donald Trump the President of the United States, threatened, on World Health Day, to withdraw funding from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for having, in his opinion, failed to forecast the coronavirus pandemic.
“They receive enormous amounts of money from the United States” and “they were wrong,” criticised the American leader. “They could have said it months before. They should have known and probably knew it,” he said. “We are going to suspend the money we spend at the WHO. We are going to look at it,” Trump said at his daily press conference on the evolution of the coronavirus health crisis.
Just minutes after this, the president denied having questioned the country’s contributions to the international health organisation. “I am not saying that we are going to do it,” he clarified, only to add that his government is going to consider “ending the financing” of this institution, which he branded to be “Chinese-centric.”
In the February budget outlined by the White House, the Trump administration already proposed reducing US contribution to the WHO from $122 to $58 million.
Trump accused the organisation of disclosing several internal reports prepared in January by his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, an economist known for his anti-China positions, which alerted to the risk of ‘massive deaths’ of Americans as a result of the new virus discovered in China.
The president has assured that he did not see these reports and has defended the optimistic forecasts that until recently he was communicating to the American population about the pathogen.
“You must understand that I am a ‘cheerleader’ for the United States. I don’t want to cause havoc and panic. And at the same time, I was saying those things, I was closing the country off from China, then Europe, and finally the United Kingdom [the WHO’s opposition to closing borders, due to the high economic cost, has also caused friction with Washington]. What I am not going to do is go out and say if this or that can happen,” he argued.
The United States reached 2,000 deaths from coronavirus in a single day yesterday, a record-breaking figure, according to the Johns Hopkins University count, which calculates that there are 398,185 confirmed infections nationwide (thankfully in New York there are signs of stabilisation) and at least 12,844 deaths. The WHO classified the coronavirus as a public health emergency on January 30, a month and a half before President Trump applied this state of emergency to his own nation.
Leading up to the emergency plan in the US, the president argued that when the temperatures begin to rise the virus will “miraculously” go away (February 10), that the outbreak was “under control” (February 24), that the media and the Democrats had blown the situation out of proportion (March 9), and finally he dismissed the epidemic as a simple flu on March 14, a day before he declared coronavirus to be a national emergency.