President Donald Trump announced on Friday he was severing the United States’ relationship with the World Health Organization, claiming China had “total control” over the organization and pressured the body to “mislead the world” about the COVID-19 pandemic. He then left the scheduled press conference without answering any questions.
Trump also said the U.S. would be revoking Hong Kong’s special trade and customs treatment and would be suspending the entry of Chinese citizens who were identified as “potential security risks.” The president did not detail what those “potential security risks” were or how they would be determined, and reporters did not have the opportunity to ask for clarification given that Trump left the podium abruptly after his statement.
Trump’s announcement — and subsequent departure from the White House’s Rose Garden — comes two days after the U.S. surpassed 100,000 COVID-19 deaths and a day after he tweeted about “shooting” protesters in Minneapolis, writing, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” (The tweet received a content warning from Twitter for “glorifying violence.”)
The president did not comment at all on the protests in Minneapolis or the murder charge filed against the former police officer who choked George Floyd with his knee for several minutes, causing his death.
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