President Trump announced this week he is halting US funding to the World Health Organization, criticizing the group for mishandling the initial outbreak in China that led to the current global pandemic.
The administration says they will suspend the funds to the W.H.O. while they conduct a review into "severe mismanagement" and "early efforts to cover up the spread of the coronavirus".
"The reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion," said Trump Tuesday.
The US is the organization's leading sponsor, contributing $400-$500 hundred million every year.
"Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death, very little death and certainly very little death by comparison," added Trump.
Trump accused the U.N. health agency of being too trusting of China and criticized officials for opposing early travel restrictions against the country.
"The delays the WHO experienced in declaring a public health emergency caused valuable time, tremendous amounts of time," continued Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement on the White House's decision to halt WHO funding that read "this decision is dangerous, illegal and will be swiftly challenged."
Other world leaders like Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison agree with Trump that the WHO was slow to react.
"I sympathize with his criticisms and I've made a few of my own," Morrison told 6PR Radio. "I mean, we called this thing weeks before the WHO did. If we were relying on their advice, then I suspect we would have been suffering the same fate that many other countries currently are."
Zhao Lijian, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman condemned the United State's decision saying the "global epidemic is at a critical moment" and this "will weaken WHO's capabilities". China, who contributes around $20 million annually to the WHO, also claims they've "always timely notified the WHO" to information on the coronavirus.
New reports from The Associated Press, however, show China waited six critical days in January to alert the public after determining they were facing a crisis.
During those six days, millions of Chinese people were traveling for lunar New Year celebrations, and tens of thousands of people attended a banquet at the outbreak's epicenter of Wuhan, China.
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