Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

President Donald Trump sent a four-page letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, pictured here during a daily COVID-19 press briefing on February 28, 2020 at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

President Donald Trump on Monday sent a four-page letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, threatening to permanently freeze U.S. funding to the United Nations agency in the midst of a global pandemic that has made international cooperation as crucial as ever.

Trump's letter, which he posted to Twitter Monday night, repeats the president's accusations that WHO is deferential to China and says that if the organization "does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization."

The president also alleged that WHO ignored early warnings about the spread of the coronavirus and made "grossly inaccurate or misleading" claims about the virus. Observers noted that much of Trump's critique of WHO's handling of the coronavirus pandemic applies to the White House's handling of the crisis, which has been condemned as fatally slow and inadequate.

"This is a phenomenally damning letter—of the president's own response," tweeted HuffPost White House correspondent S.V. Dáte. "All of those early dates? Late December and January? Were known to U.S. officials and relayed to Trump. Who did nothing."

 

Trump wrote that WHO "consistently ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier, including reports from The Lancet."

Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, a U.K.-based medical journal, refuted the president's claim in a tweet early Tuesday.

"Dear President Trump—You cite The Lancet in your attack on WHO. Please let me correct the record," Horton wrote. "The Lancet did not publish any report in early December, 2019, about a virus spreading in Wuhan. The first reports we published were from Chinese scientists on Jan 24, 2020."

Trump's letter comes just over a month after he announced his decision to temporarily halt U.S. funding to WHO, a move Horton condemned at the time as an "appalling betrayal of global solidarity" that "every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against."

Devi Sridhar, professor and chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, tweeted that the U.S. president's letter shows that he "doesn't understand what WHO can and cannot do."

"It is a normative, technical agency which needs to keep member states at the table," Sridhar said. "If he thinks they need more power then member states should agree and delegate it more. This letter is written for his base and to deflect blame."

John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies and former economist at the WHO, wrote in an op-ed for Foreign Policy In Focus earlier this month that while "WHO is far from perfect," the organization "is playing a key role in poorer countries, and its importance will only grow as the pandemic spreads in these nations."

"The story line from Reagan to Trump is the same: undermining global public health to serve narrow interests," Cavanagh wrote. "For Reagan, it was to help a few well-connected corporate backers. For Trump, it may be to help a single billionaire in particular—himself. Only now, we're in the middle of a pandemic that's only just begun to devastate the vulnerable regions that need the WHO the most. The United States shouldn't be cutting support now. We should be increasing it."


Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.

President Donald Trump delivers a speech before signing an order rolling back climate protections against coal on March 28, 2017 in Washington, D.C. JIM WATSON / AFP / Getty Images

By Emily Holden

The Trump administration is diligently weakening US environment protections even amid a global pandemic, continuing its rollback as the November election approaches.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A view of an American Airlines jet at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on March 13, 2020 in Dallas, Texas. Tom Pennington / Getty Images

The Trump administration on Tuesday reached a deal with major airlines to give $25 billion in relief to help the crippled industry.

Read More Show Less
California, along with eight other states, sued the EPA for suspending enforcement of air and water pollution monitoring and reporting from places like the Shell refinery in Martinez, CA, seen here on April 1, 2004. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

On Wednesday, nine states sued the Trump administration over the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to temporarily relax various environmental regulations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
A Smithfield Foods pork plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota that was forced to close after it became one of the nation's leading coronavirus hot spots. Smithfield Foods was bought by China's WH Group Ltd (0288.HK) in 2013 for $4.7 billion, according to Reuters. KEREM YUCEL / AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday ordering meat processing plants to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
A crossing sign in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada, alerts motorists to the threatened Mojave desert tortoise. tobiasjo / Getty Images

A solar and battery storage project large enough to power the residential population of Las Vegas received final approval from the Department of the Interior on Monday, despite concerns from some conservationists about the project's impact on the threatened Mojave desert tortoise.

Read More Show Less
The moon sets over the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico on March 14, 2017 in Hidalgo, Texas. John Moore / Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic, President Donald Trump found time earlier this week to sign an executive order for U.S. companies to mine the moon's mineral resources, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less
Children at an elementary school cafeteria are served healthy lunches in Hagerstown, Maryland on Sept. 22, 2013. Edwin Remsburg / VW Pics via Getty Images

Wonder Bread is once again off the cafeteria menu as a federal district judge Monday struck down a Trump administration rollback of nutrition standards for children's school lunches.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A large fracking operation with Mount Meeker and Longs Peak looming in the background on December 28, 2017 in Loveland, Colorado. Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post / Getty Images

by Andrea Germanos

The Trump administration on Friday released a new land use plan for southwestern Colorado that community and conservation advocacy groups warn is a "dangerous" pathway towards increased fossil fuel extraction that makes no "climate, ecological, or economic sense."

Read More Show Less
Trump speaks during a roundtable meeting with energy sector CEOs in the Cabinet Room of the White House on April 3, 2020 in Washington, DC. Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images

Some companies who have an outsized responsibility for worsening the climate crisis will receive small business loans from the federal government, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
A pharmacy tech pours out pills of hydroxychloroquine at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20, 2020. GEORGE FREY / AFP via Getty Images

Citing safety concerns, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday it was suspending its trial of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that has been championed by President Donald Trump as a treatment for the new coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

President Donald Trump sent a four-page letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, pictured here during a daily COVID-19 press briefing on February 28, 2020 at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

President Donald Trump on Monday sent a four-page letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, threatening to permanently freeze U.S. funding to the United Nations agency in the midst of a global pandemic that has made international cooperation as crucial as ever.

Trump's letter, which he posted to Twitter Monday night, repeats the president's accusations that WHO is deferential to China and says that if the organization "does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization."

The president also alleged that WHO ignored early warnings about the spread of the coronavirus and made "grossly inaccurate or misleading" claims about the virus. Observers noted that much of Trump's critique of WHO's handling of the coronavirus pandemic applies to the White House's handling of the crisis, which has been condemned as fatally slow and inadequate.

"This is a phenomenally damning letter—of the president's own response," tweeted HuffPost White House correspondent S.V. Dáte. "All of those early dates? Late December and January? Were known to U.S. officials and relayed to Trump. Who did nothing."

 

Trump wrote that WHO "consistently ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier, including reports from The Lancet."

Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, a U.K.-based medical journal, refuted the president's claim in a tweet early Tuesday.

"Dear President Trump—You cite The Lancet in your attack on WHO. Please let me correct the record," Horton wrote. "The Lancet did not publish any report in early December, 2019, about a virus spreading in Wuhan. The first reports we published were from Chinese scientists on Jan 24, 2020."

Trump's letter comes just over a month after he announced his decision to temporarily halt U.S. funding to WHO, a move Horton condemned at the time as an "appalling betrayal of global solidarity" that "every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against."

Devi Sridhar, professor and chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, tweeted that the U.S. president's letter shows that he "doesn't understand what WHO can and cannot do."

"It is a normative, technical agency which needs to keep member states at the table," Sridhar said. "If he thinks they need more power then member states should agree and delegate it more. This letter is written for his base and to deflect blame."

John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies and former economist at the WHO, wrote in an op-ed for Foreign Policy In Focus earlier this month that while "WHO is far from perfect," the organization "is playing a key role in poorer countries, and its importance will only grow as the pandemic spreads in these nations."

"The story line from Reagan to Trump is the same: undermining global public health to serve narrow interests," Cavanagh wrote. "For Reagan, it was to help a few well-connected corporate backers. For Trump, it may be to help a single billionaire in particular—himself. Only now, we're in the middle of a pandemic that's only just begun to devastate the vulnerable regions that need the WHO the most. The United States shouldn't be cutting support now. We should be increasing it."


Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.

President Donald Trump delivers a speech before signing an order rolling back climate protections against coal on March 28, 2017 in Washington, D.C. JIM WATSON / AFP / Getty Images

By Emily Holden

The Trump administration is diligently weakening US environment protections even amid a global pandemic, continuing its rollback as the November election approaches.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A view of an American Airlines jet at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on March 13, 2020 in Dallas, Texas. Tom Pennington / Getty Images

The Trump administration on Tuesday reached a deal with major airlines to give $25 billion in relief to help the crippled industry.

Read More Show Less
California, along with eight other states, sued the EPA for suspending enforcement of air and water pollution monitoring and reporting from places like the Shell refinery in Martinez, CA, seen here on April 1, 2004. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

On Wednesday, nine states sued the Trump administration over the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to temporarily relax various environmental regulations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
A Smithfield Foods pork plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota that was forced to close after it became one of the nation's leading coronavirus hot spots. Smithfield Foods was bought by China's WH Group Ltd (0288.HK) in 2013 for $4.7 billion, according to Reuters. KEREM YUCEL / AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday ordering meat processing plants to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
A crossing sign in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada, alerts motorists to the threatened Mojave desert tortoise. tobiasjo / Getty Images

A solar and battery storage project large enough to power the residential population of Las Vegas received final approval from the Department of the Interior on Monday, despite concerns from some conservationists about the project's impact on the threatened Mojave desert tortoise.

Read More Show Less
The moon sets over the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico on March 14, 2017 in Hidalgo, Texas. John Moore / Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic, President Donald Trump found time earlier this week to sign an executive order for U.S. companies to mine the moon's mineral resources, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less
Children at an elementary school cafeteria are served healthy lunches in Hagerstown, Maryland on Sept. 22, 2013. Edwin Remsburg / VW Pics via Getty Images

Wonder Bread is once again off the cafeteria menu as a federal district judge Monday struck down a Trump administration rollback of nutrition standards for children's school lunches.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A large fracking operation with Mount Meeker and Longs Peak looming in the background on December 28, 2017 in Loveland, Colorado. Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post / Getty Images

by Andrea Germanos

The Trump administration on Friday released a new land use plan for southwestern Colorado that community and conservation advocacy groups warn is a "dangerous" pathway towards increased fossil fuel extraction that makes no "climate, ecological, or economic sense."

Read More Show Less
Trump speaks during a roundtable meeting with energy sector CEOs in the Cabinet Room of the White House on April 3, 2020 in Washington, DC. Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images

Some companies who have an outsized responsibility for worsening the climate crisis will receive small business loans from the federal government, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
A pharmacy tech pours out pills of hydroxychloroquine at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20, 2020. GEORGE FREY / AFP via Getty Images

Citing safety concerns, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday it was suspending its trial of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that has been championed by President Donald Trump as a treatment for the new coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Workers clean up a crude oil leak from a pipeline in Minnesota in 2002. JOEY MCLEISTER / Star Tribune via Getty Images

The Trump administration has finalized a rule making it harder for states and tribal communities to block pipelines and other infrastructure projects that threaten waterways.

Read More Show Less
Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette says that Secretary Steven Mnuchin, pictured, worked with the Federal Reserve to bail out mid-size oil companies.
A funeral home worker in Queens, New York inventories pre-sold caskets on April 29, 2020. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

As President Donald Trump pushes for the U.S. economy to reopen, an internal administration document obtained by The New York Times and reported Monday shows federal agencies are projecting around 3,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths a day by June 1, almost doubling the current tally.

Read More Show Less