At the instruction of President Donald Trump, officials with the White House Budget Office have instructed federal agencies to redirect money normally earmarked for the United Nations’ World Health Organization to groups that perform similar work, including Samaritan’s Purse and the Red Cross.
Trump halted funding to the WHO earlier this month after arguing the UN body failed in its duty to adequately investigate early reports coming out of China regarding the novel coronavirus. Rather than conduct its own thorough investigation, officials with the WHO parroted the intentionally misleading verbiage coming out of the communist country.
In fact, the organization stated in mid-January, when human-to-human transmission had already occurred in China, there was “no clear evidence” to suggest such spread was possible.
The president said “so much death has been caused” because of the WHO’s failures.
Prior to Trump’s suspension of funds, the U.S. government provided for roughly 10% of the WHO’s $4.8 billion annual budget. The majority of the country’s contributions were “voluntary,” according to the New York Post, and have now been redirected to other agencies.
Trump administration officials have halted “voluntary” contributions from agencies like USAID, the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services, totaling between $300 million and $400 million per year.
Officials with knowledge of the shift told the Post the White House is working to move “every single pot of money” away from the WHO to other organizations.
The decision to pivot some of the money to Samaritan’s Purse comes as the faith-based humanitarian organization, owned by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and helmed by the Rev. Franklin Graham, is operating a 68-bed field hospital in New York City, tending to patients suffering from the coronavirus.
While most people are glad to have the Christian group’s help, there is a small but loud faction of LGBTQ activists who are angry over the organization’s presence in Central Park, namely due to its adherence to the biblical understanding of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Graham himself addressed critics in a statement last week, writing, in part, “Samaritan’s Purse is a decidedly Christian private relief organization, funded almost entirely by individuals around the world who share our passion for providing aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution — and doing so in Jesus’ name.”
“It seems tone-deaf to be attacking our religious conviction about marriage at the very moment thousands of New Yorkers are fighting for their lives and dozens of Samaritan’s Purse workers are placing their lives at risk to provide critical medical care,” he added.