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Virus pandemic collides with Trump’s disdain for foreign aid

American Politics

Virus pandemic collides with Trump’s disdain for foreign aid

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s well-known disdain for foreign aid is colliding with the imperatives of fighting the coronavirus pandemic, as his administration boasts about America’s generosity for countries in dire need while still generating confusion and anger on the global stage.The U.S. has committed more than half a billion dollars in anti-virus aid for…

Virus pandemic collides with Trump’s disdain for foreign aid

WASHINGTON– President Donald Trump’s well-known contempt for foreign help is hitting the imperatives of battling the coronavirus pandemic, as his administration boasts about America’s kindness for nations in alarming need while still producing confusion and anger on the global phase.

The U.S. has actually devoted over half a billion dollars in anti-virus aid for foreign countries considering that January– an indication that some administration authorities recognize Trump’s “America First” policy can’t totally secure Americans from a highly contagious illness that knows no borders. And, they understand that if the United States doesn’t help, arch-rivals like China and Russia will happily step in to fill void, in part to advance their narrative that the age of U.S.-led Western management is over.

For instance, 2 years after slashing virtually all U.S. aid to the Palestinians, the administration revealed on Thursday it would provide $5 million in support to Palestinian hospitals and households for “instant, life-saving requirements in combating COVID-19”

Yet, in just the past several weeks the administration has actually sent out clashing messages about its commitment to assist, suspending contributions to the extremely company tasked with battling the global break out and reversing decisions to offer crucial equipment like individual protective gear and ventilators to other countries in order to fulfill domestic requirements. It has actually left aid recipients unpredictable about whether grant money from the United States can be utilized to purchase those very same items, even if they weren’t intended for distribution in the U.S.

The most recent in the jarring moves came Tuesday when Trump announced the suspension of U.S. financing for the World Health Organization pending an evaluation of whether the company bowed to Chinese needs to downplay the risk of the pandemic in its early phases for political functions.

Just 2 weeks previously, the State Department had hailed both WHO and the assistance U.S. supplies it. “WHO is collaborating the global action to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is on the ground in 149 countries around the globe,” it stated in a March 31 fact sheet touting America’s kindness. “This broad-based effort would not be possible without U.S. support.”

An upgrade to that truth sheet, released on Thursday, does not mention WHO.

The previous one, though, kept in mind that the U.S. had supplied WHO with more than $400 million in 2019, which was more than twice the next largest state contributor and dwarfed the Chinese contribution of $44 million.

Trump’s financing suspension decision was extensively knocked.

” Abandoning this important body will just put more lives at threat,” stated Michelle Nunn, head of the relief company CARE USA, one of many humanitarian groups to condemn it. “The Trump administration’s decision to stop funding to the WHO during a global pandemic is unsafe, self-defeating, and short-sighted.”

Simply 6 days before Trump’s announcement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had actually revealed the U.S. would almost double its abroad virus help to almost a half-billion dollars considering that January. He described the “unequaled kindness of the American people” and said “the United States has continued to lead the world’s public health and humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

” Pandemics do not regard national borders,” he said on April 8. “Through years of U.S. worldwide management in health and humanitarian support, we understand that clever and tactical investments have shown critical to securing the homeland. As history proves, we can battle pandemics in the house and assist other nations contain their spread abroad.”

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Pompeo, nevertheless, also introduced a caution to American help: He said that assistance to the 64 nations recognized as many at-risk would not include individual protective devices and other essential supplies. “We will keep all vital medical items in the United States till the demand at house is satisfied,” he said.

That was a 180- degree shift from what the United States Agency for International Development stated March 18 when it revealed the release of some $62 million in emergency anti-virus help. That aid, it stated, would include “the arrangement of individual protective devices and other crucial products.”

U.S. officials are now searching for alternative places to send the more than $400 million in contributions prepared for WHO in2020 But there’s currently uncertainty about what aid receivers can do with U.S. funds.

An April 10 instruction from the Federal Emergency situation Management Agency disallowing the export of individual protective equipment made in the U.S. or by U.S. companies abroad has actually left lots of in government and help companies confused about what American help can be utilized to purchase when it comes to its location.

Some groups fear that the administration may use that regulation or a corollary to prohibit them from utilizing grant money to acquire particular types of gloves, facemasks and other respirators, according to relief firm officials.

One group, Partners in Health, a Massachusetts-based non-governmental group that runs medical facilities in Haiti, said it had been encouraged through “official channels” not to make an application for financing that could be used to acquire devices to fight COVID-19, because the financing could be delayed by confusion over whether the U.S. would fund such purchases.

” It remains unclear whether the U.S. federal government will be accepting applications for funding that consists of commodities such as PPE or tests,” spokesperson Elizabeth Campa stated. “The U.S. government appears to have a hold on anything being sent out overseas out of the U.S. associated to coronavirus,” consisting of cash to buy equipment from manufacturers in other nations.

Neither the State Department nor USAID would talk about the matter.


Associated Press writer Michael Weissenstein in Havana contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This product may not be released, broadcast, reworded or redistributed without approval.

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