That belief has been amplified by some of the president’s top allies in Congress and the right-wing news media, who share deep suspicions about the Chinese government and were furious when W.H.O. officials said aggressive action by China was crucial to slowing the spread of the virus outside its borders.
The “War Room” podcast featuring Steve Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist, and Jason Miller, his former campaign communications director, called a week ago for an end to funding for the W.H.O., citing what they said was China’s delay in providing truthful information about the virus.
The Fox News Channel has published 49 articles about the W.H.O. on its website since mid-February, and the cable network has repeatedly featured Republican lawmakers and conservative pundits railing against the W.H.O. for being too deferential to China. Mr. Trump echoed that sentiment on Tuesday, when he announced that he would freeze nearly $500 million in funding for the organization.
A top W.H.O. official said in mid-February that restrictive measures adopted by China had delayed the spread of the virus to other countries, saying, “Right now, the strategic and tactical approach in China is the correct one.”
“It is very China-centric,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a briefing in the Rose Garden. “I told that to President Xi. I said, ‘The World Health Organization is very China-centric.’ Meaning, whatever it is, China was always right. You can’t do that. You can’t do that. Not right.”
Many of the president’s closest aides — including Peter Navarro, his trade adviser — and key members of the National Security Council have long been suspicious of China. Mr. Trump himself has often offered contradictory messages about the country, repeatedly complimenting President Xi Jinping even as he wages a fierce, on-again, off-again trade war.
On Jan. 24, about a month after the virus was discovered there, Mr. Trump tweeted: “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency.”