Bill Clinton refutes Trump administration on crime and on environment

Former President Bill Clinton indirectly refuted the Trump administration's stance on domestic violent crime, and he reinforced a call to respond to climate change during a speech on Tuesday in Washington. 

"In America, despite all the talk you hear, we actually have historically low crime rates," the former president said in his nearly 50-minute long keynote at a forum for nongovernmental organization InterAction. 

Without mentioning the Trump administration directly, Clinton seemed to push back on claims made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday morning and by Mr. Trump during his first month as president.  

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Citing data from the FBI, Sessions said at a summit on crime reduction that the nation's violent crime rate was rising, and its increase is "staggering." In February, Mr. Trump incorrectly stated that "the murder rate is the highest it's been in 47 years." 

Mr. Clinton's address seemed to also rebut one of Mr. Trump's claims, from his January 25 executive order, which suggested that "many aliens who illegally enter the United States...present a significant threat to national security and public safety." 

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"Despite all the fear mongering, the immigrants in America have a lower crime rate than the homegrown population," Clinton said.

Throughout the address, Clinton focused primarily on his efforts as a humanitarian working with nongovernmental organizations on various international affairs, including climate change, a topic he returned to throughout.

"So here we are. We've got the whole planet at risk because of climate change, which is proceeding more rapidly than ever before," Mr. Clinton said.   

He did not mention the Paris Climate Accord, which was recently abandoned by the Trump administration. The president has been critical of climate change science both during his campaign and during his presidency. EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt has said carbon dioxide is not a contributor to heightened greenhouse gas levels, even though there is scientific consensus that the opposite is true.

"The pace of climate change is increasing. Species destruction is at about a 10,000-year high. We had another big chunk of the Arctic break off not very long ago," Clinton said. 

Throughout, Clinton warned about the failure to act on climate change. He likened the problem to a threat that all countries must share and find solutions to such as inventing new production and consumption methods for food and fuel. 

"Island nations all over the world, but especially low-lying nations in the Pacific are already threatened," Mr. Clinton said. "To them, denial of the problem strikes them as unbelievable."