The U.S. has formally notified the United Nations that it is leaving the World Health Organization. East-central Missouri Republican Congressman Blaine Luetkameyer backs President Donald Trump’s decision. Trump has been highly critical of the WHO for its handling of COVID-19. He has called the organization too “China-centric”.

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) Photo courtesy of US House of Representatives

“The World Health Organization has not been helpful with us – the United States here,” Luetkemeyer tells Missourinet affiliate KWIX in Moberly. “They have been siding with the Chinese government and protecting them and the way that they’ve handled this. It’s been very detrimental to – not only of us here in the United States – but the rest of the world.”

NPR reports to leave the organization, the U.S. must give a one-year notice and pay its outstanding dues of about $200 million.

“They’ve shown to be a very ineffective agency – a very, in fact, harmful partner in this whole situation from the standpoint of trying to organize and get a world effort together to try and stop this thing,” says Luetkemeyer. “The leadership on this is just non-existent.”

Trump has said the money the U.S. would have contributed to WHO would instead go to different global health efforts.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has indicated that if elected, he would reverse Trump’s decision.

The American Medical Association says the decision puts the health of the country at “grave risk”.

“We join in strong opposition to this decision, which is a major setback to science, public health, and global coordination efforts needed to defeat COVID-19.”

Some legal scholars have also questioned whether the president has the authority to withdraw the United States from WHO without congressional approval.

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