Donald Trump terminates entire HIV/AIDS council

A red ribbon on the White House in recognition of World AIDS Day. Photo by Saul Loeb.

The Donald Trump administration fired all of the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) without an explanation, a former member said.

Six members of the council resigned in June to protest Donald Trump’s policies concerning the disease, and the remaining 16 were fired on Wednesday, according to Scott Schoettes, a Chicago-based HIV/AIDS activist and lawyer for Lambda Legal.

“Remaining #HIV/AIDS council members booted by @realDonaldTrump. No respect for their service. Dangerous that #Donald Trump and Co. (Pence esp.) are eliminating few remaining people willing to push back against harmful policies, like abstinence-only sex ed,” Schoettes wrote on Twitter.

Sources told the Washington Blade that many council members were fired even though their terms had not expired.

The terminated members, the website said, were given the option to reapply after Tuesday.

Gabriel Maldonado, CEO of the California-based LGBT and HIV/AIDS group, Truevolution, said he had no clue why they were given the boot.

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

The firings hit at an odd time, as Trump reaches the end of his first year in office and many of the members terms had not come to a close yet.

“Like any administration, they want their own people there," he added. "Many of us were Obama appointees. I was an Obama appointee and my term was continuing until 2018.

“I think where the discrepancy comes in is why a year later, No. 1? Two, many of us, our terms were over earlier this year and we were sworn back in, and three were stayed on nearly four months after an executive order was signed continuing the council.”

On World AIDS Day, a notice was published in the Federal Register asking for nominations of new PACHA members.

The council can have as many as 25 members and nominations are due at 4:00 p.m. (CST) on January 2.

Information was gathered from this article.
The Gayly 12/29/2017 @ 2:19 p.m. CST