WH AIDS Council Members Resign Because Trump 'Simply Does Not Care'

Barsaba Taglieri
Giugno 20, 2017

Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS have resigned in protest saying that Donald Trump "simply does not care", and that he is not only unaware of the continuing impact the epidemic has on communities but is supporting legislation that threatens to reverse recent gains.

Scott Schoettes, Counsel and HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, explained in a Newsweek op-ed Friday that he and five colleagues chose to leave their posts on the council for a number of reasons.

He also took down the website of the Office of National AIDS policy on the same day he took office. He was soon joined by five other members namely - Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses Burley III, Michelle Ogle, and Grissel Granados in resigning from their posts.

Furthermore, the president has yet to appoint anyone to lead this same office - a position that held a seat on the Domestic Policy Council under President Barack Obama.

President Donald Trump pauses during a press conference with Romania's President Klaus Iohannis in the Rose Garden of the White House June 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. According to Schoettes, the last straw - or "more like a two-by-four than a straw" - had come in May, after the Republican-dominated House passed the American Health Care Act, which he said would have "devastating" effects on those living with HIV.

But their largest expressed gripe was that the Trump administration has not sought input from the council when formulating HIV policy. As of writing, no one in the White House is tasked to bring up salient issues regarding HIV/AIDS to the attention of the president.

They also addressed the president's plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the cuts to Medicaid - and what this will do to those who rely on the programmes for their HIV and AIDS treatment.

"It will be people-many of them people of color-across the South and in rural and underserved areas across the country, the regions and communities now at the epicentre of the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic".

The board can carry as many as 25 members, but it sat at 18 before the six members resigned.

Protest takes many forms, and resigning from this administration's panels and councils ― as expert advisors to the EPA did after the Trump administration dismissed half of the members of an important science committee ― sends a powerful message. As of Monday morning, some of their bios remained on PACHA's government website.

Meanwhile, Schoettes and his five other colleagues are hoping that members of Congress who can influence healthcare will engage with them in a way that Trump and his cabinet apparently will not.

GSN has reached out to the United States Department of Health & Human Services for comment.

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