- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said that the U.S. will not continue to support the World Health Organization following a series of events that he says has led the United Nations-backed agency to not perform its “fundamental function.”

His comments come just one day after the White House formally informed the U.N. and Congress that the U.S. intends to withdraw from the WHO following months of talk that it would do so.

“We provided notice yesterday to Capitol Hill of our intent to withdraw from the World Health Organization,” Mr. Pompeo said during a press conference.

“We had communicated to Congress even in the informal process that this was our intention … consistent with the president’s guidance,” he continued, vowing to work with lawmakers on the financial fallout from the move that is expected to take effect in July 2021.

Tuesday’s announcement followed a spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in a number of states, while the country surpassed 3 million cases on Wednesday.

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. Pompeo said the White House has been focused on the “failures that took place around Wuhan and the WHO’s fundamental inability to perform its basic core mission of preventing a global pandemic.”

“We are not going to underwrite an organization that has historically been incompetent and not performed its fundamental function,” he said.

The Trump administration’s move to pull out of the agency has received swift pushback from Democratic lawmakers who have criticized it as shortsighted.

“It’s not that it doesn’t get pieces of its program right,” Mr. Pompeo said. “But it’s an organization that has not been able to deliver on its core mission for decades.”

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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