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Trump says he's considering ending funding to World Health Organization

Memo warned White House about coronavirus
Memo warned Trump administration of coronavirus pandemic risks in January 02:43

Highlights from President Trump's press conference:

  • Trump said he's considering ending funding to the World Health Organization.
  • Trump said he had no role in departure of acting Navy secretary.
  • Trump said he's asking Congress for $250 billion more for the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Trump said the federal government is working to provide 110,000 ventilators.
  • Trump said he never read warning memos from aide Peter Navarro.

President Trump said he'll be asking Congress for $250 billion more to fund the Paycheck Protection Program, through which small businesses can acquire loans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he'll work with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to vote on additional funding this Thursday.

"We're in the midst of a great national struggle, one that requires the shared sacrifice of all Americans," the president said during Tuesday's Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the White House.

The Paycheck Protection Program, part of the broader stimulus bill passed in March, originally had $350 billion. The death toll from the coronavirus in the U.S. now tops 12,000, and as the country heads into what public health officials say will be a difficult week for the nation.

"We see glimmers of very, very strong hope. This will be a very painful week," the president said Tuesday. "This is a monster we're fighting."

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Amid the pandemic, the president said he's considering ending funding to the World Health Organization, claiming they side too often with China. Mr. Trump said he isn't necessarily going to go through with it, but he's taking that under consideration.

"I don't know, they seem to come down on the side of China," Mr. Trump said, criticizing the WHO's position on his travel restrictions and claiming the WHO failed to catch the spreading virus in Wuhan, China.

On the topic of China travel restrictions, Mr. Trump claimed he did not see memos written by his top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, warning the coronavirus could devastate American lives and decimate the economy. The president said he heard about the memo by reading about it, and has yet to see it. The president suggested he probably wouldn't have done anything differently if he had seen it, since he restricted many travelers from China.

"Ultimately I did more or less what the memo said," Mr. Trump said.

The president touted the federal government's effort to push 110,000 ventilators out to states and hospitals. The president was initially criticized for being slow to use the Defense Production Act to force the production of ventilators and other necessary medical equipment.

"I don't think we'll need them. Hopefully we won't need them," the president said.

On testing, another issue the Trump administration has been criticized on, the president said the U.S. has so far conducted 1.87 million tests. As he touts the number of tests performed, Mr. Trump also continues to push the use of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug. But the nation's top doctors have warned they cannot definitively say whether it works.

Congressional Democrats continue to discuss a fourth legislative package to address the impacts of the pandemic, and the president told reporters he is not ruling out another round of direct payments to Americans. The "phase three" measure passed by Congress and signed into law late last month provides $1,200 to each American adult, and payments are expected to be received sometime this month.

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