Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

From AIDS To Zika: Trump On Global Health And Humanitarian Aid

Sudanese dockers unload a U.S. aid shipment at Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast on May 5.
Ashraf Shazly AFP/Getty Images
Sudanese dockers unload a U.S. aid shipment at Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast on May 5.

No one knows what the Trump administration has planned for U.S. foreign aid programs and other global initiatives that fight poverty and disease.

There are some topics that Donald Trump has not addressed. Global advocacy groups such as the ONE Campaign have tried to get Trump to share his ideas of how to "tackle extreme poverty" on the record. After a year of campaigning, he still hasn't responded.

But the president-elect has commented on a number of global issues. Here's what he has said in speeches and interviews.


Clean water

"Perhaps the best use of our limited financial resources should be in dealing with making sure that every person in the world has clean water," Trump said in an interview on science, medical and environmental issues with Chemical & Engineering News in September 2016.


In a C-SPAN recording of a press briefing from October 2015, an audience member who identified himself as a college student asked Trump whether he would support PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief, which was established by President George W. Bush in 2003. The specific question: Would he double the number of people on treatment to 30 million people by the year 2020?

Trump responded in a general way: "Well, I like committing to all of those things. Those are great things. Alzheimer's, AIDS, so many different — you now, we are close on some of them. On some of them, honestly, with all of the work that has been done — which hasn't been enough, we are not very close. But the answer is yes. I believe so strongly in that. And we are going to lead the way."

Humanitarian aid

In an interview with The New York Times in March 2016, Trump said he was in favor of providing humanitarian aid — the umbrella term for food and disaster assistance -- depending on how friendly a country was to the U.S.

But he would also redirect some aid dollars to domestic issues, reports Humanosphere. "It is necessary that we invest in our infrastructure, stop sending foreign aid to countries that hate us and use that money to rebuild our tunnels, roads, bridges and schools — and nobody can do that better than me," Trump said in a June announcement.


In an interview with The Washington Post in March, editorial editor Fred Hiatt asked Trump if the U.S. should have a role in promoting our values or democracy abroad. Trump's response touched on setting priorities for government spending both at home and in other countries.

He responded: "I watched as we built schools in Iraq and they'd be blown up. And we'd build another one and it would get blown up. And we would rebuild it three times. And yet we can't build a school in Brooklyn. We have no money for education, because we can't build in our own country. And at what point do you say hey, we have to take care of ourselves. So, you know, I know the outer world exists and I'll be very cognizant of that, but at the same time, our country is disintegrating, large sections of it, especially in the inner cities."

Refugee assistance

At a rally in Minnesota on Monday, Trump said he would suspend the Syrian refugee program. According to The Guardian, he said: "We will pause admissions from terror-prone regions until a full security assessment has been performed and until a proven vetting mechanism has been established."

Trump hasn't revealed a clear plan of how to do that, but he has said it would require "extreme vetting," reports The Guardian.

Venezuela's economy

In August, Trump talked to The Miami Herald about Venezuela's economic crisis, which has caused skyrocketing prices and massive shortages of food and medicine.

Trump said he has "many friends" in Venezuela who have been updating him on the crisis. "They're telling me what's going on," he says. "But Venezuela's got tremendous problems right now. Even for getting food. And when I look at it, I'm so sad because I know how great the people of Venezuela are."

Asked what the U.S. should do, he said: "The leaders aren't very friendly to our leaders. But of course our leaders don't get along with too many people. But certainly, if we could help in some way, we should help. But they have some very deep-seated problems."

Zika epidemic

In August, asked how he would handle the Zika epidemic, Trump told The Miami Herald that Congress should approve additional funding to fight the Zika virus.

"For one thing, I would let some of the funds that they're asking for come in," he said. He lauded Florida Gov. Rick Scott's efforts to stop the spread of Zika-carrying mosquitoes. "It's a very tough problem to solve, but they're spraying all over the place," he said.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit