The Trump administration sent a letter giving the United Nations a one-year notice for the U.S. to quit the World Health Organization, formalizing President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the agency.
The administration sent the letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Monday, making the U.S. withdrawal official on July 6, 2021, under a requirement for a one-year notice, according to Stephane Dujarric, the secretary-general’s spokesman. It’s almost certain that Democratic rival Joe Biden would reverse Trump’s decision if he’s elected in November.
The letter was sent more than a month after Trump announced on May 29 that the U.S. would leave the WHO because of what he said was its undue deference to China and failure to provide accurate information about the coronavirus.
The U.S. has been the WHO’s largest contributor, providing $400 million to $500 million in mandatory and voluntary contributions. Trump earlier announced the U.S. was suspending that funding. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo sought to retain some funding for polio vaccination and coronavirus programs in several poor countries, but it was not known if those programs would continue to be funded.
After President Trump made the announcement the U.S. would be withdrawing, U.S. officials continued to press the WHO and its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to commit to at least some of the changes the president demanded with the prospect Trump would reverse course if it did.
Trump’s initial warning to pull out of the organization was accompanied by a four-page letter detailing his grievances. In it, he called on the WHO to “demonstrate independence from China,” renewing the complaint that led him in April to temporarily suspend U.S. funding.