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Bill Clinton on Trump’s family separation policy: ‘It’s wrong’

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton continues his "The President Is Missing" book tour, which he co-authored with James Patterson, and discusses his experiences in politics with lawyer/literary agent Bob Barnett at Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Thursday night, June 21, 2018. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Former President Bill Clinton told a Chicago audience Thursday that the Trump Administration’s recently rescinded policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the Mexican border “makes no sense.”

“It’s wrong, it’s immoral, it’s not required by the law. Children should not be bargaining chips,” Clinton said.

Clinton made the comments during an hour-long Q-and-A at the Auditorium Theatre with Bob Barnett, the Waukegan-born lawyer who brought the 42nd president together with mega-author James Patterson to pen their new bestselling thriller novel “The President is Missing,” which chronicles a president who goes off the grid to prevent a devastating cyberattack.

“My one citizen objective here is I hope when people read this, without regard to party, they will support a significant increase in investment in cyber security,” Clinton said.

His Chicago appearance came two weeks after a controversial NBC “Today” show interview in which Clinton said he didn’t plan to ask Monica Lewinsky for forgiveness in the wake of the #MeToo era — a movement that he called “way overdue” while noting he has “some questions about some of the decisions which have been made.”

Video by Ashlee Rezin | Former U.S. President Bill Clinton continues his "The President Is Missing" book tour, which he co-auth

At the outset, Barnett was quick to point out to the Auditorium Theatre crowd that “this is not a news interview” or a “political” appearance.

“Having an event in Chicago that’s not political is an oxymoron,” quipped Clinton, who did not take questions from reporters.

Clinton said when Barnett first approached him with the idea of working on a book with Patterson, he was skeptical that he could keep up with the prolific writer.

“It’d be like taking on an apprentice or something. No pun intended,” Clinton said in the first of several references to President Donald Trump — some of them thinly veiled jabs, as when he spoke about a theme in his novel of never underestimating the book’s antagonist.

“You will never go wrong overestimating your adversaries. If your adversary is dumb, lazy, crooked, you don’t win anything,” Clinton said to mounting laughs. “But if you overestimate your adversaries you’ll over prepare and you’ll have a slight advantage.”

Clinton didn’t say if he was thinking of the failed 2016 presidential bid of his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton. But he did say she was “doing great” and was on a trip in Dublin.

Asked what he learned in his first foray into fiction writing, Clinton said, “Sometimes it’s more accurate than what’s going on.”

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton continues his “The President Is Missing” book tour, which he co-authored with James Patterson, and discusses his experiences in politics with lawyer/literary agent Bob Barnett at Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt Universit
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton continues his “The President Is Missing” book tour, which he co-authored with James Patterson, and discusses his experiences in politics with lawyer/literary agent Bob Barnett at Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Thursday night, June 21, 2018. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times