Hillary Clinton has emerged from a period of relative silence following her defeat in the US presidential election to warn that Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts are a “grave mistake" for America.
Ms Clinton, a former Secretary of State, made the comments during a speech at Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace and Security, when she warned that the proposed 29 per cent cut - approximately $10 billion - to the State Department budget “would be a blow to women and children".
The cuts include programmes in global public health, international development and poverty reduction, and diplomacy. They would also be coupled with Mr Trump’s reinstitution of the Global Gag Rule, which prevents organisations receiving any type of global health funding from the US from offering any family planning or abortion services around the world.
The move would put women and girls in conflict zones who are victims of rape at the greatest risk.
The proposed budget sends a clear signal to the world, according to Ms Clinton, because the cuts are being made to pay for an increase in military and defence spending of $54 billion.
Ms Clinton argued that advancing the rights of women and girls is “not only the right and moral goal for us to be pursuing... this is strategic and necessary for matters of peace, prosperity and security".
She also took a swipe at the White House senior aide Kellyanne Conway’s comment about presenting “alternative facts” when describing Mr Trump’s inauguration crowd size and Mr Trump’s habit of accusing the media of being “fake news”.
“Here I go again, talking about research, evidence, and facts,“ she quipped while providing data on the effectiveness of programmes administered by the US Agency for International Development, housed within the State Department, that are geared towards helping ensure security and prosperity of women and girls around the world.
It was a pillar of her work at the State Department as well as a cornerstone of the development work being done through the erstwhile Clinton Global Initiative run by her family.