The Trump administration has notified Congress and the United Nations that the United States is formally withdrawing from the World Health Organization, multiple officials tell CNN, a move that comes amid a rising number of coronavirus cases throughout the Americas in the last week alone. Sen. Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee tweeted the news Tuesday.
“Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHOin the midst of a pandemic. 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,” he wrote.
A State Department official also confirmed that “the United States’ notice of withdrawal, effective July 6, 2021, has been submitted to the UN Secretary-General, who is the depository for the WHO.”
The letter addressed to the UN is very short, around three sentences, a source briefed on the correspondence told CNN, and it will trigger a one-year withdrawal timeline. However, this source also cautioned that they cannot confirm they saw the final version of the letter.
While lawmakers from both parties have long cited systemic problems with the WHO, many have also denounced the President’s decision to withdraw during a once-in-a-century global pandemic.
Despite alleging that the World Health Organization “enabled” the Chinese government’s sweeping cover-up of the coronavirus pandemic’s origins, members of the GOP China task force urged President Donald Trump last month to reconsider his decision to terminate relations with the international body, arguing that the US can do more to affect change as a member.