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Trump Freezes Funding for the World Health Organization in a “Crime Against Humanity”



Donald Trump crosses his arms and looks pouty behind his Oval Office desk.

“Crime against humanity” is not a term to be tossed about lightly, which makes the state made by Richard Horton, the editor of the renowned medical journal The Lancet, all the more damning. It comes after Trump made the hideous and horrifying decision on Tuesday to halt US funds to the World Health Organization.

Trump decided to halt funding to the WHO because he needs a patsy to blame for his own catastrophic failures when it comes to the Coronavirus pandemic. He claims the funding is paused so the administration can assess “the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”

Yes. Donald Trump, the man who lied about, minimized, and mismanaged literally every aspect of the US coronavirus response, is blaming the World Health Organization for the mess he put us all into. Even though the WHO has been on the forefront, declaring a global health emergency in January while Trump was still lying and golfing.

The US is the single largest contributor to the WHO, so halting funding for the organization in the middle of a global pandemic is not only horrifying, it’s incredibly dangerous and will cost human lives. The second biggest contributor to the WHO is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Bill Gates commented on the US funding freeze on Twitter as well.

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, also condemned the move with the reminder that the WHO is “absolutely critical to the world’s efforts to win the war against COVID-19.”  He joined with public health experts around the world in condemning Trump’s action.

Speaking to NPR, professor Lawrence Gostin, director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, said bluntly that this  “sends a toxic political signal that the United States is not interested in supporting a robust global health leadership.”

But it doesn’t take a public health expert to understand how bad this is. Denying funding to the leading organization worldwide that is fighting this disease, at the height of a pandemic, for stupid, petty reasons is a level of villainy that’s almost incomprehensible. This is quite possibly the worst thing Trump could do on a global scale and it will cost lives and further damage whatever credibility the United States has left on the global stage.

When the world was in danger, Donald Trump pulled the plug on the organization dedicated to helping it. That is a crime against humanity.

(via The Guardian, image: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.