Shomporko Desk:-The Trump administration has formally notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the World Health Organization, despite the fact that the pullout won’t take effect till next year, meaning it may be rescinded under a new administration or if circumstances change. Former Vice-President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said he would turn around the choice on his first day in office if elected.
The withdrawal notice follows through on President Donald Trump’s promise in late May to end U.S. investment in the WHO, which he has cruelly censured for its reaction to the coronavirus pandemic and accused of bowing to Chinese influence.
The move was promptly assailed by health officials and critics of the administration, including numerous Democrats who said it would cost the U.S. influence in the global arena.
Biden has said in the past he supports the WHO and pledged Tuesday to rejoin the WHO if he defeats Trump in November. “Americans are safer when America is engaged in strengthening global health. On my first day as president, I will rejoin the WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage,” he said.
Trump is trailing Biden in multiple polls and has sought to deflect criticism of his administration’s handling of the virus by aggressively attacking China and the WHO.
The withdrawal notice was sent to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday and will take effect in a year, on July 6, 2021, the State Department and the United Nations said on Tuesday.
The State Department said the U.S. would continue to seek reform of the WHO, but referred to Trump’s June 15 response when asked if the administration might change its mind. “I’m not reconsidering unless they get their act together, and I’m not sure they can at this point,” Trump said.
Under the terms of the withdrawal, the U.S. must meet its financial obligations to the WHO before it can be finalized. The U.S., which is the agency’s largest donor and provides it with more than $450 million per year, currently owes the WHO some $200 million in current and past dues.
On May 29, less than two weeks after warning the WHO that it had 30 days to reform or lose U.S. support, Trump announced his administration was leaving the organization due to what he said was its inadequate response to the initial outbreak of the coronavirus in China’s Wuhan province late last year.
The Republican chairman of Senate health committee, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, said he disagreed with the decision.
“To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic and incoherent doesn’t do it justice,” said New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “This won’t protect American lives or interests – it leaves Americans sick and America alone.”
Photo credit: Alex Brandon / AP
News source: The Associated Press