(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin today issued the following statement after President Trump announced he would withhold funding from the World Health Organization (WHO) during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:

“President Trump’s decision to withhold funding from the World Health Organization (WHO) is plainly an effort to shift blame for the long national nightmare we are in and to distract the world from his own lethal incompetence and ignorance in addressing the crisis. But this transparent ploy is a strikingly irresponsible and dangerous abdication of American leadership that threatens public health everywhere. Now more than ever, the WHO needs U.S. support and funding. In any case, the President cannot make this spending decision unilaterally in defiance of Congressional direction. We control the spending power—not him. Along with my colleagues, I will be looking into whether this refusal to spend in accordance with the instructions of Congress violates the Impoundment Act and the Congressional power of the purse and what our best remedies are. 

"Like every institution, the WHO isn’t perfect and doesn’t need to pretend to be and there will be a time and place to scrutinize its handling of the pandemic.  But the WHO remains an indispensable institution in the global fight against COVID-19. Trump repeatedly praised it in January and February and his own State Department states on its website that U.S. ‘leadership enables these organizations' -- including the WHO -- ‘to fight disease and ultimately, protect Americans.’ This virus observes no borders, and beating it requires a coordinated global response. Instead of rallying the world in solidarity and calling for greater investment in response and relief capacities, the President has brought U.S. leadership and our global standing to a shocking new low, and abandoned sick and dying people in their greatest time of need. And all of this dangerous waste is a vain effort to blame someone else for the President's own miserable failures.”