The U.S. government has submitted a formal notice of withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO). President Donald Trump has been criticizing the global agency for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its clear pro-China bias.
The White House notified congressional lawmakers on Tuesday that the official removal will take effect in July 2021.
Senator Bob Mendez tweeted, “Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic.”
Menendez, defended the decision, saying: “To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn’t do it justice. This won’t protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone.”
A representative of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres confirmed receipt of the U.S. notice to withdraw.
In April, President Trump announced that he would freeze funding to the WHO, and threatened to make the freeze permanent if the organization did not enact “major substantive reforms.”
The U.S. sends the WHO $450 million a year.