Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he disagrees with President Donald Trump’s decision to terminate the United States’ membership in the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Trump administration formally notified the United Nations this week of its decision to leave WHO, The New York Times reported.
“The United States’ notice of withdrawal, effective July 6, 2021, has been submitted to the U.N. secretary general, who is the depository for the WHO,” a senior administration official told the outlet.
Trump first announced his intention to end America’s partnership with WHO in late May.
“We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly but they have refused to act,” the president said. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”
Trump said the “world needs answers from China on the virus” and criticized WHO’s defense of China’s response to COVID-19.
Alexander said he disagrees with the president’s decision because it could interfere with clinical trials for developing vaccines.
“I disagree with the president’s decision. Certainly there needs to be a good, hard look at mistakes the World Health Organization might have made in connection with coronavirus, but the time to do that is after the crisis has been dealt with, not in the middle of it,” the Republican senator said in a press release.
“Withdrawing U.S. membership could, among other things, interfere with clinical trials that are essential to the development of vaccines, which citizens of the United States as well as others in the world need. And withdrawing could make it harder to work with other countries to stop viruses before they get to the United States,” he added.
WHO receives between $400 and $500 million in annual funding from the United States.
“If the administration has specific recommendations for reforms of the WHO, it should submit those recommendations to Congress, and we can work together to make those happen,” said Alexander, who chairs the U.S. Senate’s health committee.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “World Health Organization Building” by Yann Forget. CC BY-SA 3.0.