U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to pull back funding from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday over the agency’s response to the novel coronavirus.
Speaking at a press conference, Trump first told reporters the U.S. would put a “very powerful hold” on money sent to the WHO, adding that they “missed the call” on the pandemic.
When asked whether placing a hold on the organization was the right thing to do amid a pandemic minutes later, Trump backtracked and said he was going to “look at” doing it.
“I’m not saying I’m going to do it, but we will look at ending funding,” he said.
He also criticized the organization as being “very China-centric” for denouncing his Jan. 31 travel ban, which saw foreign nationals who had travelled to China within the last 14 days barred from entering the U.S.
This is not the first time the president has voiced his lack of confidence in the WHO. Prior to the conference, he tweeted “The W.H.O. really blew it,” asking why they gave such “faulty” recommendations.
In February, the Trump administration’s budget proposal also sought to halve the amount of funding it provided the WHO from roughly $122 million to $57.9 million.