- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The White House formally informed the United Nations and Congress on Tuesday that the United States intends to withdraw from the World Health Organization, the public health arm of the U.N.

The announcement came as the U.S. grapples with a spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in a number of states and as the country closes in on surpassing 3 million positive cases.

The withdrawal would take effect in July 2021.

Sen. Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Tuesday that Congress received notification of the withdrawal.

Mr. Trump had said earlier this year that the U.S. was pausing contributions to the global health organization before announcing in May that the United States would sever its ties to the group.

The president and others have criticized the WHO for too eagerly accepting the narrative from China, where the coronavirus was first discovered late last year, about the origin and potential dangers of the virus.

Mr. Trump said in a May 18 letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus that the group’s “repeated missteps” “have been extremely costly for the world.”

He said if the WHO didn’t commit to major improvements within 30 days, he would make the temporary funding freeze permanent and “reconsider” U.S. membership in the group.

Many conservatives have praised Mr. Trump’s approach, though Mr. Menendez criticized Tuesday’s move as shortsighted.

“This won’t protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone,” the senator said on Twitter.

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