Trump fires entire HIV/AIDS council by FedEx letter

Dec 31, 2017, 00:27
Trump fires entire HIV/AIDS council by FedEx letter

President Trump has terminated the appointments of the remaining Obama-appointed members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, CBS News has confirmed.

President Donald Trump has fired the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, according to reports from Newsweek.

He tweeted on Thursday that Trump showed "no respect for their service" by firing the council members. "Dangerous that #Trump and Co". They had been invited to reapply Tuesday.

One of the people fired, Gabriel Maldonado, CEO of Truevolution in Riverside, Calif., told The Blade that he had time remaining on his appointment to the board.

The PACHA website, which says it was updated December 28, now shows only two staff; all council members photos and bios were removed.

Many have noted Trump's predicliction for undoing Obama's policies. Maldonado went on to say that "ideological and philosophical differences" could have also led to the terminations.

More broadly, when asked whether he thinks the Trump administration cares about the LGBT community and those living with HIV/AIDS, he said, "Bigotry and homophobia have been around since the beginning of the country, sometimes it takes a voice for a particularly type of sentiment to be resurrected".

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'And a lot of those key vulnerable populations are not being prioritized in this administration'.

"My reaction is that our focus should be on the policies that PACHA addresses", Sullivan said. "The fact is you're dealing with a public health issue". At PACHA's last meeting in August, the Council urged the Administration to affirm the National HIV/AIDS Strategy through 2020.

Schoettes is not optimistic that the notice for new applicants will attract qualified people.

The council, called PACHA for short, was set up by Bill Clinton and is supposed to provide advice and direction on policy and other aspects of AIDS prevention. The body hasn't yet been formally wound down, but it remains to be seen whether Trump's advisers will appoint members.

The Trump administration this past week dismissed the remaining members of a federal advisory council on HIV and AIDS.

According to a statement from the council's executive director, the group members each received a letter earlier this week with the news.

She added that the members were thanked for their "leadership, dedication and commitment".

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Sullivan had been appointed to a four-year term in May 2016 under former US President Barack Obama. "All PACHA members are eligible to apply to serve on the new council that will be convened in 2018".

"Now they need to find bonafide community people with appropriate expertise and the ability to adapt to the changed political circumstances", Driscoll said. "Every organization serving people living with HIV and fighting to end this epidemic must galvanize their networks of clients, staff, and volunteers to resist and fight back against these unsafe HIV policy decisions", he added.

In June, Schoettes penned an article for Newsweek in which he justified the resignations, accusing the president of not caring about people living with HIV.

But Maldonado said the termination of PACHA members during the Trump administration is only partially consistent with the Obama years.

"Like any administration, they want their own people there", Maldonado told the Washington Blade.

He also noted that numerous dismissed council members whose terms expired earlier this year were sworn back in to their positions months ago - even after Trump signed an executive order which kept PACHA going for another year.

Scott Schoettes, HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, wrote in Newsweek why he and five of his colleagues chose to leave the PACHA. An estimated 1.2 million people have HIV/AIDS in the United States and 37 million have the disease worldwide. The White House has not responded to a request 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.

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