WASHINGTON, DC -- President Donald Trump said Friday that the U.S. will be terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization, saying it had failed to adequately respond to the coronavirus because China has “total control” over the global organization.
He said Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the WHO to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered.
"The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency," Trump said from the White House Rose Garden.
He noted that the U.S. contributes about $450 million to the world body while China provides about $40 million.
The U.S. is the largest source of financial support to the WHO and its exit is expected to significantly weaken the organization. Trump said the U.S. would be “redirecting” the money to “other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” without providing specifics.
Trump's news conference came amid word of the arrest of a former Minneapolis police officer in the death of George Floyd following a night of violent protests.
Trump spoke to reporters, but took no questions, after he suggested shooting looters in a tweet.
Earlier Friday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Trump's tweets were "just not helpful."
"I did speak to the President. At that point in time, it was in the process where I said we were going to assume control of this and it was unnecessary," Walz said.
"I didn't know he's going to tweet, he certainly can... It's just not helpful," he added.
He said that state officials are "doing everything we can."
"In the moment where we're at, in a moment that is so volatile, anything we do to add fuel to that fire is really, really challenging," Walz said.
Twitter flagged Trump's tweets saying it violated the platform's rules.
The tweet is now hidden by a notice from Twitter –– but is still viewable.
"This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible," Twitter said in the notice.
Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden also took a veiled swipe at President Trump's tweet earlier Friday.
"This is no time for incendiary tweets. It’s no time to encourage violence. This is a national crisis, and we need real leadership right now," he said.