Trump escalates tension with World Health Organization over coronavirus pandemic, repeats threat to withhold funding

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U.S. President Donald Trump escalated tension with the World Health Organization on Wednesday, once again criticizing the agency’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and threatening to withhold funding.

“So we’re going to do a study, an investigation, and we’re going to make a determination as to what we’re doing. In the meantime, we’re holding back,” Trump said at a White House press conference Wednesday. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration is reevaluating the WHO’s funding,  saying the United Nation’s health organization hasn’t “achieved what it intended to do,” particularly in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Organizations have to work. They have to deliver the outcomes for which they were intended,” Pompeo said We need to make sure that, not only the World Health Organization but every international organization that we take taxpayer money and give it to them for the benefit of America, we need to make sure it’s delivering on those tax payer dollars.”

When asked whether WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus should resign, Pompeo said now “is not the time to be doing that kind of change.”

WHO officials on Wednesday warned global leaders against politicizing the COVID-19 outbreak “if you don’t want to have many more body bags,” Tedros said.

US President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on April 7, 2020, in Washington, DC.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

CNBC’s Tucker Higgins contributed to this article.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates. 

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