According to a Democratic Senator and several news reports, the Trump administration has officially withdrawn the United States from the World Health Organization. However, the withdrawal process will take a year, so Trump may not be able to see through it.
"Congress received notification that POTUS had officially withdrawn the United States from the WHO in the middle of a pandemic," Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) Wrote on Twitter today. "Describing Trump's response to COVID as chaotic and incoherent doesn't do it justice. It won't protect the lives or interests of Americans – it leaves Americans sick and America alone."
According to The Hill, a senior Trump administration official today confirmed that "the White House has officially moved to withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization."
"The United States has submitted its resignation notice to the Secretary General of the United Nations," the Hill article said. "The resignation requires a period of notice of one year, so that it will only take effect on July 6, 2021. This increases the possibility that the decision can be reversed." That would be six months after the President's next inauguration.
"The communication to the United Nations was the first step in a one-year process that will be based on several factors beyond Trump's control, including Congress cooperation and Trump's own re-election in November, none of which are insured "wrote CNBC. The Washington Post also confirmed that the Trump administration sent a letter to the United Nations withdrawing the United States from the WHO "for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic."
A WHO spokesman told Ars: "We have received reports that the United States has provided the UN Secretary-General with a formal notice of withdrawal from WHO effective July 6, 2021. We have no further information on this at this time."
The 1948 joint resolution requires a one-year process
The issue of whether Trump can unilaterally remove the United States from WHO is covered in a recent Congressional Research Service report. The 1948 Congress resolution, authorizing the President to accept membership of the WHO, is said to limit Trump's authority here:
This resolution reserves the "United States" 's right to leave the organization after one year' s notice and stipulates that the United States' financial obligations to the organization for the "current fiscal year" of the organization must be fully met before the Withdrawal can take effect. The resolution does not specify whether in the "United States" the president acts alone as head of state to effect the withdrawal, or whether the president and congress act together to achieve the withdrawal (for example, through a joint resolution ). Even if the 1948 joint resolution stipulates that the president act alone, the joint resolution appears to impose two conditions for the president to withdraw from the organization: (1) the president grants one year of notice; and (2) that the United States fully meet its financial obligations to the organization for the current year of the organization before resigning.
For this reason, "it appears that the joint resolution would only prevent the President from resigning immediately. The President could, in accordance with the joint resolution, file a letter of intent to resign, but will not be effective for at least twelve months." "A court may have to ultimately decide the matter, the report says.
WHO does not appear to have the power to mandate payments, but may "suspend the United States' voting rights if it finds that the United States is behind schedule during the twelve-month notice period," the report said. Congress may also "consider imposing additional conditions on withdrawal," the report said.
Trump had threatened for months to take the United States out of the WHO. In April, he stopped US funding from the United Nations Health Department and announced in May that the US government would "end our relationship with WHO."
"China has total control over the World Health Organization, even though it only pays $ 40 million a year compared to what the United States paid, which is about $ 450 million a year," Trump said at the time, while he said that WHO accused not of being tough enough for China during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump had not implemented the plan to withdraw from WHO in mid-June, but has now taken action – albeit a measure that could be reversed, especially if he loses his reelection offer.