Trump Fires Entire White House HIV/AIDS Council

HIV / AIDS

In a move in line with his other anti-LGBTQ policy positions and actions, Donald Trump just fired all remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) without explanation. The firing follows the resignation of six other members earlier this year in protest of Trump’s handling of the battle against HIV/AIDS.

The remaining 16 members were notified this Wednesday of their termination via FedEx letter from the White House.

Reaction

Speaking to The Washington Blade, PACHA adviser Gabriel Maldonado confirmed the firings saying the “explanation is still unclear.”

“I can only speculate,” Maldonado told the Washington Blade. “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.”

He added:

“I was co-chair of the disparities committee, 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.”

Scott Schoettes – one of the six members who resigned in June – offered critical words in a statement on Twitter:


The curious part of the unexpected firings is the fact that several members just had their terms extended through 2018 meaning the decision clearly had intent behind it outside of routine political appointments at the end of previous administration appointments’ terms.

Context

The clearing out of PACHA follows botched statements on National HIV Testing Day and World AIDS Day where Trump failed to even acknowledge LGBTQ people.

It also follows a series of decisions and inaction demonstrating a distinct lack of direction in the current administration’s fight against HIV/AIDS. We wrote in June:

In what may be his first statement this month relating to any LGBTQ-adjacent issue, Donald Trump issued a statement today as a part of National HIV Testing Day. That statement not only omitted LGBTQ people, but labeled HIV+ persons as “carriers” of the disease. The statement doesn’t come as a surprise since he’s on schedule to potentially bring back the AIDS epidemic with his policies, positions and cuts to vital health programs that serve communities most profoundly affected by HIV.

This adds to his failure to bring back and staff the the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). It adds to the fact that he doesn’t have a strategy to fight the epidemic. It’s one of the driving reasons behind six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) stepping down recently arguing Trump doesn’t care about fighting the AIDS epidemic.

It should be noted that the White House official ONAP page is still blank. (You can view what was on it previously by viewing the Obama administration archive as it was captured on January 20, 2017.)

For the uninitiated, ONAP is a vital tool in the fight to end HIV/AIDS. ONAP worked ardently to educate the public while reducing the overall number of new HIV infections nationally. Additionally, the office:

…also coordinates with the National Security Council and the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, and works with international bodies to ensure that America’s response to the global pandemic is fully integrated with other prevention, care, and treatment efforts around the world. Through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiative, the U.S. has made enormous progress in responding to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, working with countries heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS to help expand access to treatment, care, and prevention.

The shuttering of ONAP accompanies the removal (and continued absence) of HIV/AIDS data and studies unconnected to the Obama administration on government websites. We reported earlier this year:

Take the Department of Labor’s report on Advancing LGBT Workplace Rights (archived version here). This is a report whose information would not change depending on who sits in the White House. Despite that, the data is still missing as of today.

Another important continued omission is information for people living with disabilities. (Again, here’s the Obama archive.) Not only does the information on disabilities remain the same from administration to administration, the data contained on the now-archived page (and missing from the Trump White House page) delineates the laws and regulations that protect the approximately 53 million Americans with disabilities.

That data is all still missing as the nation closes in on the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.

While the White House hasn’t responded to requests for comment on the firings, the Washington Blade noted, “New appointments may be coming soon. The Washington Blade reported in October gay Republicans familiar with HIV/AIDS issues and LGBT people have been among those contacted by a Trump administration official for possible appointments to PACHA.”

PREVIOUSLY

 

Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he’s worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.

Comments

Loading Disqus Comments ...

68 comments

  • It has begun, First you take away and help for the sick and crippled and the old. They die off, then the next step is taken. Other minorities LGBTQ, Black, Hispanic and women….oh and atheists. The jews are only handy as bankers.

  • Just curious-what are his other anti LGBTQ policy positions? Seriously, I want to know.

  • We should all send a letter via Fed Ex to the Congress Terminating Trump.

  • Obama fired a buttload of people when he got in too. Smh. Would YOU want employees who did not support you? No. Let’s say you went in and had an entire group of Southern Baptist Evangelical Born Again Redneck Christians on your staff… Would you keep them?

    • Obama actually did not fire all of Bush’s appointees on PACHA because he understood the importance of transition and retention of institutional knowledge from one set of appointees to the next.

    • Your comment also fails to address the underlying issues in the Trump administration regarding HIV/AIDS policy – all of which were addressed in the article.

    • Well Peacock, don’t get your feathers too out of shape yet, Trump may soon appoint an even better group than the last. Be patient 🙂

    • What leads you to believe that? Based on his track record on HIV/AIDS policy over the last 10 months, that’s not likely to be the case (again, as we addressed in the article).

    • Peacock, as opposed to your 10 month long observance I have studied our President for the past 10+ years. Contrary to Crap News Network among other fake MSM news, he is rather shrewd and when he wants a job done he will hire the best people to get it done. Apparently the panel he just fired either wasn’t doing its job or no longer wanted to come up with new strategies to do a better job. Who knows, the next panel may just do a better job in prodding the flailing HIV/AIDS let alone Infectious Diseases sectors back into significance. Again, keep your tail feathers intact, Peacock. There are much more important things to worry about. And yes, I am a Scientist so I know what I’m talking about 😉 🙄

    • If he hires the best people, why has his administration lost people at a historically record rate? Why has he hired people at top positions in agencies that have no experience in the agency they’ve been tasked with leading?

      To get more to the heart of the issue, Trump doesn’t hire “the best people” – rather, he hires people he thinks can carry out his agenda without question based on loyalty to him, not loyalty to the people or the Constitution. That’s part of the reason he fired Jim Comey (as he would not swear loyalty to him over his legal duties).

      That all being said, nothing in Trump’s history – be it his time in office or his private life before becoming president – offers any indication he cares about people living with HIV/AIDS or about the fight against curbing the epidemic. If he did, he wouldn’t have shuttered ONAP in January while removing all HIV/AIDS data/research and studies from government websites.

      Moreover, had you performed an iota of research before commenting that existing members were not “doing its job or no longer wanted to come up with new strategies to do a better job” you’d know an existing plan is in place carrying the council through 2020 – one Trump has approved of all year up until this point (despite not carrying out any of the plans recommendations that have thus far significantly reduced the rate of infections domestically and abroad).

      Finally, please keep your ‘whataboutism’ in claiming more important matters exist than combatting a disease that has killed millions of people. If you were really a scientist, you would never trivialize the fight to end HIV/AIDS.

    • Peacock Panache, give me one example of ‘people he has hired at top positions in agencies that have no experience in the agency they’ve been tasked with leading?’, as you put it.
      Furthermore, whether you like it or not, Trump is OUR President CONSTITUTIONALLY elected via the Electoral College which America’s Founding Fathers were so wise to implement to prevent mob-rule supporters like you who don’t know the Constitution anymore than the location of their own assholes from governing our country. And since Trump was Contitutionally elected he is charged with the job of working for The People and in order to do this he would need to hire people who would support his policies which he tries to implement. Of course as a butt-hurt liberal you conveniently ignore the outright treason that not only Democratic members of Congress have committed against him and consequently the American People who elected him but also members of your own party. And the Constitution carries a 5 year prison sentence and forfeiture of future rights to hold any public office. Threatening the life of a President, taking money from foreign government officials who sponsor acts of terrorism against the US for your own personal gain, selling Congressional seats, bribing US officials, deleting 33,000 federally classified emails upon receiving a federal court supoena, and making up a fake collusion scandal with dossier for the sole purpose of not only deflecting your own treason but also to start a war with the country part of the accusation which is Russia, bartering with terrorists, letting illegal immigrants in by the thousands. I could go on but I’m sure deep within your butt-hurt, triggered snowflake soul you know your precious Dems are guilty of treason as charged.
      Regarding whatever plans/policies were put in place by Obama and other past presidents, Trump has the Constitutional rights to discontinue them, whether you like it or not. So your 2020 council comment is a moot point.
      And as for my ‘whataboutism’ I have handled infectious organisms capable of killing a human being within a week, trying to help in the fight to discover new vaccines and therapy targets within host cells among testing new drug compounds. What the hell have you done in this area? I never said that HIV/AIDS wasn’t important, it is, but clearly new research and finding strategies are needed because failed vaccine after failed vaccine a cure doth not make. And if a newly hired panel can come in and do a better job not to mention come up with more effective strategies in less amounts of time, all the better. I have watched the federal NIH funding for Infectious Disease research sector plummet over the past 8 years starting with Obama. And if you knew an inkling about Research and what it entails both science and regulations-wise, you would not be blaming Trump the way you are. But keep whining, it’s what you snowflakes do best-guarantee Trump a second term.

    • Heather Curry Betsy Devos, Ben Carson, Vinke, and sadly just about all of the Federal Judge nominations … which the Republicans aren’t even pushing thru …

    • Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, Rick Perry, Steven Mnuchin, Tom Price, Andrew Puzder, Mick Mulvaney, Scott Pruitt, Rex Tillerson, and Nikki Haley right off the top of my head, but there are plenty of other examples, Heather.

      Moreover, Heather, your insult-laden pseudo-intellectual defense of the Constitution would make more sense if Trump actually knew what was in the Constitution (he’s on record not even knowing how many articles it has, in fact). Whether he is president (or not) is not the argument here. It’s his use of that office in implementing effective HIV/AIDS policy that we’ve pointed out explicitly in this article – a topic you don’t seem to want to focus on much.

      Furthermore, could you point to examples (with evidence) of actual treason committed by the Democrats you’re accusing? Being someone who claims to know and love the Constitution, I’m sure you’re aware it’s a very specific crime with narrow, definitively defined parameters requiring a high level of evidence.

      Moving on though, do you even know what the 2015 ONAP / PACHA plan is? You don’t seem to based on those comments. Summarily dismissing it because it was implemented during the Obama presidency seems both impulsive and naive for someone claiming to understand how PACHA and its mechanics works.

      Finally, you understand that PACHA isn’t responsible for the actual research into vaccines, right? I mean, when you say things like, ” but clearly new research and finding strategies are needed because failed vaccine after failed vaccine a cure doth not make” seems to make me think you believe PACHA members are scientists working in labs toward the cure.

      They are not.

      They are HIV/AIDS professionals working in the field with direct experience with patients, with scientists doing that sort of research, and more. Some are doctors, some aren’t. At the core of the membership – the former membership, at this point – was collective experience in helping the WH fight for policy that would better facilitate research through grants, public education campaigns, government coordination and more.

      Again, you would know this as a self-proclaimed scientist if you’d an conducted an iota of research on the group and the existing plan before sounding off (again).

      Finally, this will be your first and last warning: use of pejoratives and insults violates our page’s commenting terms of service (something else you could have learned through a quick search as any scientist or first year academic would and could do). Continue violating our TOS and you will be banned.

    • Peacock Panache BOOM !!! Spot on !

    • Well Peacock and Sandra Sue Serf regardless of all the filth you and the rest of the opinion-based MSM peddle for facts, buckle up because at the rate you all are going with all whining and no leadership let alone solutions, you are in for 7 more years of President Donald J Trump 😂
      Keep screaming at the sky because, the Democrats LOST and they are just grabbing at straws at this point 😂😂 Happy New Year to you!

    • Heather next to this amazing President who has brought more money and jobs to America than any other President in History, you can just became my new hero. Peacock… JIM COMEY? you honestly had to go there?? The man is the biggest sell out of the century! He straight up LIED to EVERYONE. Thinking that she was “guaranteed” that win and she would cover it up. And they would all be killed if they didn’t obey the great dnc proven to be RUN by clinton herself. If you liberals would search for the TRUTH in all these accusations instead of just taking the words that msm and the dnc says at face value, like most of us honest, hard working, truth seeking PATRIOTS do then you would easily find that the liberal dems would not give two shits about you, or the causes you love so dearly. If you want to accuse someone of using people to fulfill a wickes agenda, look to the parties you protect. How many of you looooved Loretta Lynch when she was blasting Trump and praising hitlery? How many of you say she’s lying after she wrote that book listing all the truths? Every single “accusation” that Trump listed when he was running has now been PROVEN TRUE.
      You guys just can’t accept the truth because you’re so filled with hate. Donald Trump could accidentally stumble on a cure for HIV, AIDS, CANCER and solve World Hunger and you people would find something to complain about. You preach hatred under the guise of ‘love and equality’. Please!!

    • Actually, Heather, over the last few months Democrats have won nearly every special election and based on intent to run filings they are set to overtake both chambers of Congress next year (at which point impeachment proceedings will finally begin). So cheers, your off topic argument actually does bring new year cheer as it will be Trump’s last in office.

      https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-sheer-number-of-democrats-running-for-congress-is-a-good-sign-for-the-party/

    • Actually. Bobbie, Trump has brought neither the most jobs nor the most money to the nation when compared with other presidents. Whoever told you that lied and you bought the lie without evidence.

      And yes, Jim Comey is relevant because his testimony is backed by evidence and contemporary witnesses whereas Trump has been proven to be a serial and compulsive liar. He fired Comey not only after demanding loyalty and being refused, but – by his own admission on camera in an interview – while thinking about relieving the pressure of the Russia investigation. That firing is why the Mueller probe was started so as to insulate it from another attempt at obstruction.

      So to your caps-laden rants, Bobbie, either provide substantiation for anything you’ve argued about those points, or stop propagating false narratives and debunked conspiracy theories. It makes you no better than the wackadoodles who believed Clinton was running a pedophile sex ring out of a pizza parlour and nearly got several people killed when someone actually believed the unsubstantiated conspiracies and attacked innocent customers with a gun.

      FInally, to your argument that “Donald Trump could accidentally stumble on a cure for HIV, AIDS” That would require he actually care about people living with HIV/AIDS. And had you read the article, you would already know the answer to that. But since you clearly have not, here are some of the more blatant reasons he does not:

      ~He shuttered ONAP, one of the most important agencies fighting HIV/AIDS in the entire government
      ~He removed all HIV/AIDS research from government websites. Wiped them clean and attempted to hide the data. Why would someone who wants a cure do that?
      ~He calls people living with HIV “carriers” rather than human beings.
      ~A majority of people living with HIV depend upon the ACA for basic coverage and medication to survive. You can do the math on this one, right?
      ~He brought on a VP who literally created an HIV epidemic in Indiana.

      And those are his public positions, Bobbie.

      Pointing out his abhorrent record on HIV/AIDS issues and his ongoing attempts to shut down vital services to people living with HIV is not hatred – it’s raising red flags for people actually affected by his policy positions. While you may want to pay lip service to people living with the disease because you believe in your heart of hearts that he means well when he launches yet another attack on that community, you have no proof of his intentions outside of what he has said and the actions he has taken. And neither of those has offered any hope for people living with HIV. In fact, based on his actions they have every reason to fear for their future.

    • I’m terribly sorry but when I tried to read your reply, all the words translated to blah, blah, blahblah blaaah and it suddenly sounded like the intercom teacher on Charlie Brown.
      Have a good new year, I know I am already.

    • That’s what tends to happen when people are pressed to provide evidence for the lies, misinformation, conspiracy theories and propaganda they propagate online, Bobbie, so that was no surprise.

    • Continued refusal to back your propaganda and lies by posting a GIF is noted, Bobbie.

    • Ohh, Peacock. At least our political agendas aren’t killing babies and selling body parts. Nor are we involved in child sex slavery. Donna Brazil is a genius by writing secret books and releasing them BEFORE ever speaking out against hillary clinton. Those odds of her committing suicide by shooting herself in the back of the head with a shotgun twice went down considerably. But I do have a theory, I will lay odds that she has a nice little “insurance policy” in the form of another book that would certainly be released should that “suicide” occur. Donald Trump proves himself every day. I could care less about “proving myself” to you or anyone else in your sad, delusional party. Your hatred surpasses any and all logical reasoning. That is all. I’m tired of playing with you now, Peacock. You can have your precious little last word and be 10 years old again. Smh

    • Bobbie, Bobbie, Bobbie, you’re better than this.

      No one is “killing babies” (as ending the life of a newborn is illegal) and no one is selling baby parts (you’ve bought into another repeatedly debunked conspiracy theory).

      But none of that is a surprise since you’ve been citing propaganda and easily debunked conspiracy theories throughout this thread.

      And it’s also no surprise that you don’t see a need to prove the easily disproven arguments you’ve made. That’s how internet trolls and Russian bots operate: they make ridiculous arguments supported by absolutely no evidence and claim victory. It’s pathetic in it’s predictability, really.

      Do take care with your tin foil cap though, Bobbie.

  • So what is the news, the current president wants to put in his own people? Every president does it, no big deal! Of course, lies and twisting facts sell papers.

    • Actually, no sitting president since PACHA was created has terminated all sitting members. During administration changes, terminations are common but typically it’s:

      (1) Done at the beginning of an administration when appointments are announced, not one year in after an administration has extended the tenure of sitting members for a year or more.

      (2) Only a portion of sitting members, not all, so as to retain and pass on institutional knowledge so the council doesn’t have to start from scratch.

      This is all covered in the article (plus some).

  • How cares it’s called the PRESIDENTIAL advisory council, so if he feels like they aren’t doing the job then he can appoint anyone he chooses, they don’t make scientific discoveries so it won’t hurt anything.

  • I mean… you can prevent HIV. So.

  • Most appointees from the previous administrations tendered their resignations upon the new administration taking over. These morons thought they were above that so President Trump had to fire them. Thinking you’re above it all doesn’t make it so. YOU’RE FIRED!!

  • Trump is evil but we’re only 10 months in……

  • Why do we need that council when we have the CDC and the WHO? Sounds like a bunch of political appointees who get nothing done.

  • The decision by an administrator to clear house at PACHA is not unprecedented. The Obama administration eliminated all of George W. Bush’s appointees in the same way.

  • To be fair… from the HuffPost article… “Gabriel Maldonado, CEO of the Riverside, CA-based LGBT and HIV/AIDS group Truevolution… (said)… ‘it is common for appointees to be terminated and for folks to kind of want their own people in.’ Also of note, during the Obama administration, nearly all of George W. Bush’s appointees were eliminated prior to new appointees being named. (And)… On World AIDS Day, the Department of Health and Human Services published a notice in the Federal Register inviting nominations of members to serve on PACHA.”

Leave a Reply

Loading Facebook Comments ...