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Trump Suggests He May ‘Hold’ $500 Million Meant for WHO

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 4/10/2020 Justin Sink

Video by AFP

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump suggested he may “hold” U.S. funding for the World Health Organization, which some on the U.S. political right have sought to blame for the coronavirus outbreak.

“We’re going to have an announcement on the World Health Organization sometime next week,” Trump said at a press conference on Friday. “As you know we give them approximately $500 million a year and we’re going to be talking about that subject next week. We’ll have a lot to say about it. We’ll hold it.”

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World Health Organization (WHO) Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward gestures during a news conference at the organization's headquarters in Geneva October 29, 2014. © Denis Balibouse/Reuters World Health Organization (WHO) Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward gestures during a news conference at the organization's headquarters in Geneva October 29, 2014.

The president didn’t elaborate on what he would announce about the WHO next week.

As Trump endured scrutiny of his government’s response to the U.S. outbreak, some of his political allies have alleged the WHO was too trusting of Chinese assertions about the disease after it first appeared last year. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, has said he would block further U.S. funding for the international health group until it changes its leadership, calling the agency “deceptive” and “Chinese apologists” in a Fox News interview on Tuesday.

The U.S. has contributed about $893 million to the WHO’s operations in its current two-year funding cycle, according to the organization.

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