Washington: US President Donald Trump has officially withdrawn the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO), US Senator Bob Menendez said in a statement.
“Congress received notification that POTUS [President of the United States] officially withdrew the US from the WHO in the midst of a pandemic,” Menendez said via Twitter on Tuesday.
According to a congressional resolution upon joining the body in 1948, the United States can exit the WHO on a one-year notice provided US financial obligations are met in full for the organization’s current fiscal year.
Menendez added that Trump’s decision isolates the United States amid the pandemic.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and scores of other Democrats slammed the move.
“The President’s official withdrawal of the U.S. from the World Health Organization is an act of true senselessness as @WHO coordinates the global fight against COVID-19. With millions of lives at risk, the President is crippling the international effort to defeat the virus,” Pelosi said in a tweet.
Congressman Ted Lieu was blunt, concise and to the point in his assessment.
“Withdrawing from the World Health Organization in the middle of a pandemic is INSANE,” Lieu said via Twitter.
Trump has accused the WHO of colluding with China to cover up the origins and handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
In April, Trump announced a temporary freeze of US funding for the WHO and warned that the freeze would become permanent unless the organization committed to major changes within 30 days. However, in late May, Trump confirmed the United States would withdraw from the WHO and redirect funds to other global health needs.
The WHO said it declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency in January, which gave countries enough time to prepare. Chinese officials have repeatedly said they shared information on the outbreak in a timely manner.