Joe Biden defends WHO, knocks Trump slogan: 'When America is first, it's America alone'

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Former Vice President Joe Biden pledged to reverse President Trump's decision to revoke funding from the World Health Organization (WHO) amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Yes, I will," he said when asked about restoring funding during an interview released by a Florida outlet Monday. "But I'll also insist that we do what we were doing before. We had set up a pandemic office within the White House," he added, referring former President Obama's administration.

Biden said that compared with Trump, he would be "much more engaged in the world. We can't step back."

"If, in fact, for example, we solve the problem in the United States of America -- and you don't solve it in other parts of the world -- you know what's going to happen," he added.

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"You're going to have travel bans. You're going to not be able to do, have economic intercourse around the world. Look, when America goes alone -- when America is first, it's America alone. And the idea that we're stepping back from the world leadership that we in fact engaged in during the virus and the pandemics in the past, it is leaving it leaderless as a matter of fact."

Biden seemed to take a shot at Trump's slogan "America First," which the White House alluded to while announcing the hold on WHO funding.

"I will never hesitate to take any necessary steps to protect the lives, health, and safety of the American people. I will always put the well-being of America first," Trump said in the announcement.

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The White House promoted the decision as a way to hold the WHO accountable for its actions during the coronavirus pandemic. "The American people deserve better from the WHO, and no more funding will be provided until its mismanagement, cover-ups, and failures can be investigated," the White House said.

The United States is the WHO's largest single donor, and the State Department had previously planned to provide the agency $893 million in the current two-year funding period. Trump said the United States contributes roughly $400 to $500 million per year to WHO, while China offers only about $40 million. The money saved will go to areas that "most need it," Trump asserted earlier this month.

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The United States is far ahead of other countries in contributions to the WHO this year. Although House Democrats suggested that cutting WHO funding is illegal, the fiscal year 2020 budget passed by Congress mandates the president provide only "necessary expenses, not otherwise provided for, to meet annual obligations of membership in international multilateral organizations.” The budget does not specifically guarantee the WHO any amount of funding.

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The United Nations Secretary-General on the World Health Organization previously issued a statement saying it was "not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus," and noting that the agency has "thousands of staff" working on the outbreak.

"Once we have finally turned the page on this epidemic, there must be a time to look back fully to understand how such a disease emerged and spread its devastation so quickly across the globe, and how all those involved reacted to the crisis," the statement read. "The lessons learned will be essential to effectively address similar challenges, as they may arise in the future."

Fox News' Gregg Re contributed to this report.