Hillary Clinton took aim on Friday at President Trump’s proposed cuts to U.S. foreign aid and diplomacy.
Speaking at a Georgetown University awards ceremony for four women who facilitated the 2016 Colombian peace agreement, the former U.S. secretary of state declared, “We are seeing signals of a shift that should alarm us all.”
According to Reuters’ tabulation, Trump’s proposed budget contains a 28 percent cut for U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid next year. The document is merely a blueprint, and Congress will ultimately set its own funding priorities. Clinton made her position clear.
“This administration’s proposed cuts to international health level and diplomacy would be a blow to women and children and a grave mistake for our country,” she said.
“Standing up for the rights and opportunities for women and girls must be a cornerstone of American global leadership,” Trump’s former Democratic rival argued.
She also pointed out that more than 120 retired U.S. generals and admirals recently signed a letter to Trump, urging him not to slash spending on diplomacy and foreign aid. These top U.S. military brass “recognize that turning our back on diplomacy won’t make our country safer. It will undermine our security and our standing in the world,” she said.
Clinton’s remarks at Georgetown followed a speech before thousands of businesswomen in San Francisco earlier this week — one of her first since losing the election to Trump in November — and in both cases she alternated between throwing sharp critiques at the current administration and poking fun at herself.
“Here I go again, talking about research, evidence, and facts,” Clinton laughed, eliciting cheers and applause from the crowd as she cited studies on the influential role of women in peace negotiations.
“Advancing the rights and full participation of women and girls,” she continued, is “not just a nice thing to do,” but rather, “strategic and necessary for matters of peace, prosperity and security.”
“It is not a partisan issue,” she insisted. “It’s a human issue.”
In another possible jab at Trump, Clinton stated, “If we are to build more just, free and peaceful countries and indeed a world, it’s not enough just to pay lip service to empowering women.” Earlier this week, both the president and first lady Melania Trump spoke about women’s “empowerment” at events marking the end of Women’s History Month.
Clinton concluded, “I am pleading that our government will continue its leadership role on behalf of peace in the world, because the world must continue this work with or without U.S. involvement.”
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