President Trump is likely to announce restrictions on U.S. funding for the World Health Organization this week over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as the administration and conservative allies ramped up their criticism that the United Nations agency catered to China early in the outbreak and jeopardized global health.
Trump hinted at a temporary hold on U.S. funding Friday but said he wanted to wait until after Easter to announce anything. He said his administration would discuss the organization “in great detail” this week, adding he did not want to go further “before we had all the facts.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials are expected to recommend to Trump how to dock or condition payments to the agency as Republicans in Congress seek documentation of WHO dealings with China, said people familiar with White House and State Department discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversations.
“They are very, very China-centric,” Trump said Friday. “China always seems to get the better of the argument and I don’t like that, I really don’t like that. I don’t think that’s appropriate. I don’t think it’s fair to the American people.”
Speaking at the daily White House coronavirus news conference, Trump focused on the level of U.S. funding and the disparity with China’s contribution. The administration review is expected to be broader, to consider how well the agency responded in December, January and February as the virus began spreading rapidly in China and then beyond its borders, said the people familiar with the talks.