Trump fires entire HIV/AIDS council by FedEx letter
30 December, 2017, 02:50 | Author: Inez Murphy
"On December 27, 2017, the current members of Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) received a letter informing them that the Administration was terminating their appointments". No explanation was given by the president regarding their terminations, although some expect the firings are politically motivated.
"Now they need to find bona fide community people with appropriate expertise and the ability to adapt to the changed political circumstances", he told the Blade. "The Obama administration dismissed the George W. Bush administration appointees to PACHA in order to bring in new voices".
Every President since Mr Clinton has also appointed a leader of the White House Office of National Aids Policy within their first year. Medications have advanced since then, making HIV a much more manageable diagnosis for many Americans.
Scott Schoettes, a Chicago-based HIV/AIDS activist and senior attorney for Lambda Legal, was one of these six staffers who resigned in June.
This week, HIV reseracher Dr Patrick Sullivan told The Washington Post that a form letter was sent out that "thanked me for my past service and said that my appointment was terminated, effective immediately". Fangerous that #Trump and Co. "(Pence esp.) are eliminating few remaining people willing to push back against harmful policies, like abstinence-only sex ed". "One of our recommendations was to endorse the national HIV/AIDS strategy, which was developed by the Obama administration ... but reflected the work of a very diverse group of people". Other Presidents, including Barack Obama, have cleared out most of their predecessor's appointees to make room for their own.
But gay rights advocates say the Trump administration has been discriminatory in a subtle way, leaving out any reference to the LGBTQ community from their statements. Reports came out that Trump, behind closed doors and complaining about immigration statistics, was allegedly upset that tens of thousands of Haitians came to the US each year, telling advisers the immigrants from that nation "all have AIDS".
Trump's relationship with the council has been beset by controversy, with six staffers quitting in June amidst discontent as to how the president has been handling the epidemic of HIV/AIDS.
Vice President Mike Pence, who has been running the administration behind the scenes as Trump continues his Twitter wars with the media, science, and fellow politicians, is vociferously anti-LGBT and has continuously shown resistance to combating HIV.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment. The president's 2018 fiscal year budget seeks $150 million in cuts from HIV research at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and more than than $1 billion removed from programs like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
But it's also not unusual for an administration to clear out the previous administration's appointees like this.
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