Saturday, 20 January, 2018

Trump fires members of HIV/AIDS council without explanation

President Donald Trump appears on Friday Dec. 29 2017 answering questions in Washington DC Trump Fires HIV/AIDS Council In Its Entirety By FedEx Letter, Report Claims
Delia Stanley | 30 December, 2017, 03:36

President Donald Trump fired the remaining members of the White House's advisory council on HIV/AIDS on Wednesday.

The terminations were effective immediately, the paper reported, citing epidemiologist Patrick Sullivan.

Every President since Mr Clinton has also appointed a leader of the White House Office of National Aids Policy within their first year.

Scott Schoettes, a Chicago-based HIV/AIDS activist and senior attorney for Lambda Legal, was one of the six who resigned in June over Trump's inaction on HIV/AIDS and said on Twitter the remaining members were fired.

The administration wanted to make changes to the advisory committee in order to find its own appointees, according to media reports. "Two, many of us, our terms were over earlier this year and we were sworn back in, and three were stayed on almost four months after an executive order was signed continuing the council".

Mr Maldonado said the members, many of whom were Obama-era appointees, were given no reason for their dismissal. "Like any administration, they want their own people there".

PACHA members have had problems with the way Trump runs the council since he took office.

Schoettes went on to say that Trump was "executing a purge" by many of his actions, including those unrelated to HIV. It also mentioned the 1.1 million Americans now living with HIV.

'Many of us, our terms were over earlier this year and we were sworn back in, ' Maldonado revealed. "In the fact of CDC projections that 1 in 2 black gay men and 1 in 13 D.C. residents will become HIV-positive within their lifetimes, it is unconscionable that we would have a President that would not only propose massive cuts to HIV programs but would also remove the entire PACHA membership".

Impulse Group DC, a social and entertainment-based HIV awareness and advocacy group with particular focus on outreach to queer communities of color, sent out a press release heavily criticizing Trump's previous proposals to cut federal HIV programs, including the president's call to eliminate the Minority AIDS Initiative. Coming six months after the resignations, the firings are "a little too coincidental", he added.

"I just am coming to the acknowledgment that the traditional tactics of politicking and policy and strategy and negotiation, the kind of standard tools that we're trying to use, that the status quo is no longer acceptable", Maldonado said. Neither statement includes a explicit mention of LGBT people, who are considered to have face the brunt of the disease.

It's not clear when new appointments might be made.

The firing of the remaining board members provides further evidence that the Trump administration isn't interested in the issue.

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