Clinton, Bloomberg decry Trump's policies at New York forum

By Allen Cone and Sara Shayanian  |  Sept. 20, 2017 at 10:34 AM
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Sept. 20 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump didn't attend the first Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York on Wednesday, but his views were at the forefront.

Though Trump was rarely named, speakers discussed his administration's nationalist stance on trade and immigration policy, skepticism of climate change and other comments at the forum at Plaza Hotel.

Michael Bloomberg's conference, which drew world leaders and top CEOs and was hosted during U.N. General Assembly week, was a revival of the former President Bill Clinton's Global Initiative.

"Too often governments and businesses don't talk to each other," Bloombeg, a media mogul and former New York City mayor, said. "This forum aims to fix that, and it's especially important when isolationism is rearing its head ... including here in the U.S."

Clinton was a featured speaker.

"The most important thing is whether you believe that social strength, economic performance and political power flow from division or multiplication, from subtraction or addition," Clinton said.

He warned of the "severe limits on the ability of rising separatist tribalism to solve the problems" of the modern world.

Clinton said countries need to take cooperation "to another level."

"It depends upon our mind and our heart; first believing that we can and must every day expand the definition of us, shrink the definition of them," he said.

The panel took place one day after Trump addressed the nearby U.N. General Assembly, doubling down on his "America first" philosophy and emphasizing the importance of state sovereignty.

"We follow the leader whether we like it or not, and just our beliefs and the way we behave is set by what we see on television, what we read in the paper," Bloomberg said. "Words have consequences. It's not immediate, but they are real."

Bloomberg expressed concerns about the dialogue of "fake news" during a panel later Wednesday with Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The event also included discussions of climate change and the Paris Climate Accord. Trump announced plans in June to withdraw the United States from the landmark agreement.

French President Emmanuel Macron also highlighted the importance of global cooperation, specifically citing climate change as a problem facing the world.

"We have a lot of global challenges: climate change, migrations, terrorism -- and for that, we need multilateralism," Macron said.

Bloomberg announced a new platform, Invest4Climate, designed to "derisk" investment in climate-friendly infrastructure and projects globally.

"We hope to have real deals on the table where unlikely investors have invested in climate change-related projects," World Bank president Jim Kim said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the importance of trade and its implications on global politics.

"Trade leads to growth. That's the story of our world over the past centuries, and that's a good thing," Trudeau said.

But Trudeau said "that growth hasn't necessarily reached everyone," and that's led to either to political backlash "or falling back into the politics of fear, division, or envy or inward turning."

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