Washington, DC – Last Saturday, December 1st, was World AIDS Day, and there were many events planned throughout the country and the world dedicated to focusing attention on the continuing AIDS epidemic and its devastating impact on our world. The White House held its World AIDS Day event on Thursday, November 29th, and for some unknown reason, Vice President Mike Pence was tapped to deliver the event’s keynote address. Pence once ran for Congress on a pledge not to support reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE (Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency) Act until “after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus,” according to GLAAD.
Within hours of Pence’s address, according to Back2Stonewall.com, the Democratic National Committee issued a press release pointing out that for the second year in a row Pence refused to mention the LGBT community and detailing the lies Pence told during his speech and some “truths he forgot to mention.” Pence boasted about the success of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, despite the fact the Trump administration diverted funds from the program to offset the costs of its immigration family separation policy. Pence celebrated the 15th anniversary of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), calling it “one of the most successful investments in health care and humanitarian aid in American history,” while Trump’s budget proposal slashed the initiative’s funding. Pence claimed Trump brought a “renewed energy and focus” to the battle against HIV/AIDS.
Pence failed to mention that Trump fired the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS after several members quit because Trump “doesn’t care” about the issue. He failed to note that Trump still hasn’t appointed anyone to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. He failed to note that Trump announced the “Deploy or Get Out” rule, which could remove HIV-positive military personnel from service. And of course, he did not remind those listening to his address that as governor of Indiana, he opposed a needle-exchange program and exacerbated the local HIV/AIDS crisis.
(Dallas Voice & GLAAD at Dallasvoice.com/pences-lies-and-omissions-in-world-aids-day-speech)