WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The White House has filed a notice to the U.N. secretary-general to pull out the U.S. from the World Health Organization effective July 6, 2021.
- The letter to the United Nations was the first in the procedure that will take a year to finish, which will also be determined by the U.S. Congress or if Trump wins his reelection bid.
- The decision was forwarded amidst the upsurge of COVID-19 in several states in the country.
An official from the White House told CNBC that Trump had submitted a notice to the U.N. secretary-general its desire to withdraw from the World Health Organization’s that will take effect on July 6, 2021.
The memo is the first step of a process that will take at least a year and shall depend on several factors, including the reelection of Trump in November and the approval from Congress. These are both aspects that are beyond the president’s full control.
Former vice president Joe Biden said he would immediately bring the U.S back to the WHO if he wins the presidential race.
Trump made the move amidst the sudden surge of COVID-19 cases in the United States.
Currently, almost 3 million people in the country have been infected by the bug. Over 130,000 had died, as reported by Johns Hopkins University.
Whether Trump has the autonomous power under U.S law to pull out from the WHO is yet to be determined, says the Congressional Research Service report in June.
In April, the president announced that he had ceased U.S. funding to the WHO, saying that the organization has mishandled and covered up the real numbers of the coronavirus.
A month later, he said he would push for WHO withdrawal despite the rising coronavirus cases. Trump also called out the global health agency, claiming it misused its funding and having a self-serving relationship with China, where the virus originated.
The president noted that the U.S has been supporting WHO every year with $450 million in funds compared to China’s $40 million.
Yet, Trump explained, WHO refused to heed the U.S’ call for reformative support, one of the reasons why he pushed for the withdrawal of support.
Following Trump’s remarks at the time, the State Department started diverting funds from the WHO to other health-related organizations worldwide.
On a written statement sent by a spokesman of the State Department to CNBC on Tuesday evening, the administration said the WHO should reorganize. The press release also said the United States would call for efforts to reform the WHO and other international groups to make sure they work as per their mandates and commitments.
A spokesperson for the World Health Organization confirmed receipt of the notice from the White House but did not elaborate on the details.
Trump’s move to cut ties with the WHO has faced criticisms from members of Congress.
Republicans in the House earlier argued that having WHO with the U.S is critical amidst the coronavirus crisis.