By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump has fired the remaining members of the HIV/AIDS council. Not by calling them in to discuss the matter, not by sending an internal memo but by sending each member a pink slip in the mail by way of FedEx.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the termination letters issued to the remaining 16 council members, didn’t even bother to give them a reason for their immediate termination.

Trump hasn’t had good relations with the HIV/AIDS council since taking office. In fact six staff members had already resigned by in June over Trump’s lack of support for fighting the epidemic of HIV/AIDS. Once again Donald Trump is attempting to take America back to the late 70s and 80s when HIV/AIDS weren’t even discussed in government circles. What’s next? Segregation lobbying?

Scott Schoettes, a Chicago-based HIV/AIDS activist and senior attorney for Lambda Legal, was one of the original six staffers who quit in June over Trump’s attitude and when he heard about the termination of the entire council, he took to Twitter to lambaste the president’s decision, accusing it of being part of a strategy to bring back “abstinence-only” sex education, among other “harmful policies.”

Another staffer who received their termination letter, Gabriel Maldonado, confirmed that no explanation was given for the reason of his termination.

A red ribbon in recognition of World AIDS Day hangs from the North Portico of the White House in Washington, DC, December 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

“I can only speculate,” said Maldonado. “Like any administration, they want their own people there. Many of us were Obama appointees. I was an Obama appointee and my term was continuing until 2018.” said Maldonado. So much of my advocacy and policy references surrounded vulnerable populations, addressing issuing of diverse communities, specifically looking at the impacts of the LGBT community, namely, the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS to people of color, gay men, transgender women and a lot of those key vulnerable populations are not being prioritized in this administration.” concluded Maldonado.

Not only has Trump terminated the HIV/AIDS council, he is also looking to make huge cuts to programs including $150 million on HIV/AIDS to the Centers of Disease Control.

Trump has his mind set on more than $1 billion in cuts from worldwide programs like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It goes to reason why Trump has yet to appoint an HIV/AIDS chief. This is outrageous considering this is the first time since former president Bill Clinton created the position back in 1993 that a president has failed to appoint someone into that position.


Related News