Donald Trump tears into 'China-centric' WHO, considers withholding US funding
President Donald Trump on Tuesday lashed out at the World Health organisation accusing it of being "China-centric" and said he is considering a "very powerful hold" on funding to the global health body, which is leading the world's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We're going to put a hold on money to the WHO, we're going to put a very powerful hold on it and we're going to see," Trump said at the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House.
However, later in the briefing, the US President told media persons "I'm not saying I'm going to do it, but we are going to look at it."
When asked specifically about possible impact a hold on the funding may have on the specialised United Nations agency, Trump said: "I said we're going to look at it. We're going to investigate it, we're going to look at it. But we will look at ending funding."
Trump was critical of the world health body stating that it was aware of the dangers of the coronavirus months before it took action.
'They called it wrong, they called it wrong, they missed the call,' he said.
Stating that the United States in one of the biggest contributors to the WHO, he said may have to re-examine the funding.
He said, "WHO receives vast amounts of money from the United States"
According to Trump, WHO has had several "worthwhile" programs but overall has made mistakes. He talked specifically about WHO opposition to his decision to temporarily ban travel from China, the epicentre of the virus.
Earlier in the day Trump had taken to Twitter to post: "The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China-centric. We will be giving that a good look".
"Fortunately," Trump wrote, "I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?"
Meanwhile, Trump and Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also talked about a disproportionate impact of coronavirus on the African-American community in the US.
Dr Fauchi, said "We've known, literally forever, that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and asthma are disproportionally afflicting the minority populations, particularly the African Americans," Fauci said.
"Unfortunately, when you look at the predisposing conditions that lead to a bad outcome with coronavirus, the things that get people into ICUs, that require intubation and often lead to death, they're just those very comorbidities that are unfortunately disproportionately prevalent in the African American population."
President Trump echoed Fauchi's suggestion.
Trump said, "We're actively engaged on the problem of increased impacts -- this is a real problem and it's showing up very strongly in our data -- on the African American community. And we're doing everything in our power to address this challenge. It's a tremendous challenge. It's terrible."
As of March 8, the United States has 387,547 active cases of coronavirus. 12,291 deaths and 20,395 have been recovered as per the Johns Hopkins University data.