VIDEO: Trump announces U.S. “terminating” relationship with the WHO

President Trump announced Friday that the U.S. will make good on his earlier threat to cut ties with the World Health Organization.

Several Democrats criticized the decision.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wrote “President Trump’s decision to leave the @WHO during a global pandemic alienates our allies, undermines our global leadership, and threatens the health of the American people. Trump needs to reverse this reckless decision immediately.”

Rep. Ted Lieu wrote “This action by @POTUS to terminate our relationship with the World Health Organization is insane. With the reality of global travel, #Covid19 will continue to threaten the lives of Americans until it is eradicated worldwide. More evidence that @realDonaldTrump is unfit to lead.”

Politico reports President Donald Trump on Friday said he would make good on his threat to withdraw from the World Health Organization — an unprecedented move that could undermine the global coronavirus response and make it more difficult to stamp out other disease threats.

Trump has criticized the United Nations health agency for failing to quickly sound the alarm when the novel virus emerged and accused it of helping China cover up the threat it posed. “Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe,” Trump said in a brief statement from the White House.

Trump’s announcement was quickly panned by health experts, who claimed it would set back global efforts to track and defeat a virus that’s already killed more than 360,000 people and sickened nearly 6 million. But the move has been cheered by Trump’s base, which is distrustful of international bodies.

The U.S. has relied on its partnership with the WHO and other countries to share crucial data and information, including on treatments and potential vaccine development for the coronavirus, as well as other public health threats including HIV and Ebola. Experts cautioned the nation’s public health response to the coronavirus and other emerging diseases would lag without that international cooperation.

The American Medical Association, the nation’s largest physician group, urged Trump in the “strongest terms possible” to reverse the decision. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the head of the chamber’s health committee, warned canceling U.S. membership could disrupt clinical trials for vaccines that will be in high demand around the world.

“Certainly there needs to be a good, hard look at mistakes the World Health Organization might have made in connection with coronavirus, but the time to do that is after the crisis has been dealt with, not in the middle of it,” Alexander said.

Trump last month temporarily froze U.S funding to the WHO while his administration was reviewing membership. The U.S has previously contributed over $400 million per year to WHO’s $4.8 billion annual budget, more than any other country.