Donald Trump begins formal process of leaving WHO as US coronavirus deaths top 130,000
7 July 2020, 20:46 | Updated: 7 July 2020, 20:53
The Trump administration has formally notified congress and the UN that the United States has begun the process of withdrawing from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The decision comes amid concern over the rising number of coronavirus cases in the US, with the latest death toll passing 130,000.
CNN has reported that Congress was notified today.
The revelation has been met with questions from congress members.
Top Democratic Senator Robert Menendez tweeted on Tuesday: "Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHOin the midst of a pandemic.
"To call Trump's response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn't do it justice. This won't protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone."
Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic.— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) July 7, 2020
To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn't do it justice. This won't protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone.
A State Department official has also confirmed: "The United States' notice of withdrawal, effective July 6, 2021, has been submitted to the UN Secretary-General, who is the depository for the WHO."
According to CNN, the letter, which is addressed to the UN is very short, around three sentences.
Donald Trump announced in May that he was looking to withdraw American funding and membership from the WHO, after saying it "enabled" a Chinese cover-up of coronavirus cases.
He has consistently accused the organisation of aiding China and also claimed that if the WHO had acted appropriately, he could have instituted a travel ban on people coming from China sooner.
Members of the GOP China force have since asked the president to reconsider, but to no avail.
House Republicans have also ultimately decided to disagree with the administration's decision to withdraw from the WHO.
However, the decision can be reversed if Trump loses the presidential election in November.
Despite Mr Trump's actions, the WHO called for "unity" in the wake of the pandemic.
WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "To beat the Covid-19 pandemic, and ensure that essential services for other diseases like HIV continue, we cannot afford any divisions.
"National unity and global solidarity are important more than ever before to defeat a common enemy."
On Tuesday, a UN diplomat stated: "Whatever is done now can be reversed in the year to come, because it will not be final."
The President has also previously questioned US funding to the United Nations and NATO, withdrawn from the Paris climate accord and repeatedly criticised the World Trade Organisation.