WASHINGTON -- The United States officially notified the United Nations secretary-general of the country's withdrawal from the World Health Organization, setting in motion the country's exit from the global body.
President Donald Trump in May said he would withdraw from the WHO, accusing the organization of failing in the coronavirus pandemic and being a puppet of China. Trump also announced a funding halt to the WHO in a move that has drawn concern, including from U.S. allies.
The move, effective July 6, 2021, was confirmed by a U.S. senior administration official and the U.N.
A spokesman for the U.N. noted that exit conditions include giving a one-year notice and "fully meeting" financial obligations.
Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, earlier said the Trump administration had notified Congress of the U.S. withdrawal and was sharply critical of the president.
"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," Menendez said on Twitter.
A chorus of Democrats followed in slamming the administration, warning on the dangers of exiting a global health body in middle of a pandemic.
Allies, notably in Europe, have expressed concern over the U.S. withdrawal and funding suspension, given the outsized role of Washington in bankrolling the organization.
Trump has been pushing blame onto China for the pandemic, even as he faces mounting domestic criticism over his own handling of the virus.
Much of his anger has been focused on the claim that Beijing was not transparent about the virus's spread in December and January.