When Donald Trump announced yesterday that he was cutting off all U.S. funding for the World Health Organization, the move was widely criticized for being spiteful and stupid. Now it turns out the move is also an imaginary one, as Trump literally can’t take funding away from the WHO right now.
This seemed like a short sighted move to begin with. Even if Donald Trump takes away the WHO’s funding for 2020, if he loses the election it’ll just be reinstated by Joe Biden in January. But it turns out it’s even more short sighted than that.
Former Senator Claire McCaskill explained on MSNBC today that because the WHO funding is already appropriated for 2020, Trump doesn’t have any method for taking it away. Congress controls appropriations, and Nancy Pelosi isn’t going to sign off on the WHO being defunded. This means that Trump’s announcement changes nothing whatsoever for the rest of the year.
In other words, unless Donald Trump wins the election and then manages to get the WHO cut out of future budgets, his announcement yesterday won’t take a single dollar away from the WHO. It’s not clear if Trump knows this and he’s just trying to scare and distract people with yet another imaginary and impossible threat, or if he truly does mistakenly think the WHO’s funding has been cut off just because he claimed it’s been cut off.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report