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Donald Trump’s new budget proposes cutting $3 billion from global health programs, despite his repeated vows to protect Americans from the deadly new virus outbreak.

According to Foreign Policy, Trump is specifically proposing a 50 percent reduction in funding for the World Health Organization, the main global body fighting to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which first began in China.

Such cuts “are entirely out of touch with the threats facing our nation,” Adm. James Stavridis and Gen. Tony Zinni, co-chairs of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s National Security Advisory Council, said in a statement Monday, after Trump’s proposal was released.

They added that foreign assistance “is not charity but a strategic investment in our own security that saves lives and keeps us safe.”

Trump’s proposed cuts directly contradict his previous pledges to protect Americans from the growing outbreak, which started in December and has spread to dozens of countries. More than 1,000 people have died in China alone as a result of the outbreak.

“My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat,” Trump said about the new virus during his Feb. 4 State of the Union address.

Later, on Feb. 7, Trump told reporters that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a U.S. federal agency, was working closely with the World Health Organization and China to address the outbreak, which he called “a tough situation.”

“[China is] working really hard, and I think they are doing a very professional job,” he said. “They’re in touch with the World Organization [sic] and CDC also. We’re working together.”

Trump’s budget notably calls for a 9 percent cut to CDC funding.

According to Foreign Policy, Trump administration officials have defended the proposed $3 billion in cuts by pointing out that the administration is also calling for an additional $15 million in funding for the USAID Global Health Security Program, which is aimed at fighting diseases like the new coronavirus.

However, the totality of the cuts is concerning to foreign policy and global health experts.

Trump’s budget “is a waste of the paper it’s printed on,” rep. Eliot Engel, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement, adding that if it were enacted, it would “weaken our security and leadership around the world.”

The budget is “woefully out of touch when it comes to protecting America’s interests,” Liz Schrayer, president and CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, said in a separate statement. “Given the growing threats from the coronavirus to the rise of China and other great powers … now is not the time to take our diplomats and development tools off the playing field.”

On Tuesday, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the WHO, called the new coronavirus “a very grave threat,” noting the virus “does not respect borders or ideologies.”

In a call with reporters a day earlier, he had warned, “This is a common enemy that we can only defeat if we do it in unison and in unity.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)