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Did Trump Just Threaten To Cut Funding For The WHO?

Updated on April 8, 2020
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Hi, I'm Sanjeev Nanda, and I love keeping up to date with current affairs.

In a time when the entire world is corralling together to fight an existential threat, when prominent leaders are running amuck to maintain stability – one is choosing to wring arms and wage cold wars (guess who?)

President Donald Trump, in a press conference on Monday, was asked if India’s initial decision to allegedly withhold the export of Hydroxychloroquine, would be met with a retaliation of any sort. To be fair, the key-words were supplemented by a reporter, in form of a question –

“…are you worried about (a) retaliation to your decision to ban the export of medical goods like Indian Prime Minister Modi’s decision to not export hydroxychloroquine to the United States and other countries?”

Donald Trump, who has been having a very bad week, blurted out an answer – he implied firstly, that he didn’t know about this development with India. Then he explained that India and the USA continue to have a good relation… followed by a remark over India’s supposed leverage in trade, over America. THEN, he told that in a conversation with Narendra Modi, he clarified the hydroxychloroquine issue, to which India complied, thus resuming supply… at the tail end, he rhetorically states “there may be retaliation, why wouldn’t there be?” (if India had not agreed with the agreement).

I took the liberty of paraphrasing President Trump’s response, as the original statement just goes places (but nowhere in particular)!

Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug that is showing some results in subduing the Sars-CoV-2 strain of virus – however, testing is nowhere near absolute. There is a long way to go before any drug, even the aforementioned, is considered a viable option.

President Trump, realizing that a gaffe had occurred, came out barely 24 hours later, lauding India’s decision to fast-track export of the anti-malarial drug to the United States.

Trump, instead of addressing pressing issues like these – blamed the WHO, and said that ‘their’ inaction, and affinity to China, is what helped spread the Covid-19 outbreak in the first place. USA is the largest funder of WHO, according to Trump, and as such should’ve sided with the US, instead of China – who had allegedly silenced the public health body, in hiding the epidemic outbreak, as early as January. His critique of the World Health Organization came tagged with blanket threat to cut its funding going forward.

In a prompt exchange of cross-questioning, when asked to clarify if he actually just threatened to cut funding for the largest health organization in the entire world (which he did), Trump backtracked his statement, saying that they were “looking into (cutting funding)”.

Donald Trump, it seems, is merely shifting blame. His lack of direct action is his alone. What happened with the initial reporting of the pandemic is a tragedy. But it’s not like it was beyond the eyes and ears of the country’s finest intelligence officials – heck, anybody with a mobile phone would’ve known that an outbreak had initiated.

A month has passed since the outbreak was upgraded to a fully-fledged pandemic. WHO’s failure was more than two months removed – so why the delay in appropriate response now? Trump is trying to find a scapegoat, and the flaccid, toothless World Health Organization was an easy target.

The USA is struggling with improper medical upkeep, and that has not gone unnoticed. Medical professionals and citizens alike are at a running risk of contracting the disease, simply because of improper quarantine measures. The USA must pick itself up by the bootstraps, before pointing fingers, and jumping to conclusions.


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