Trump fires remaining HIV/AIDS advisory council appointments

Donald Trump

While presidents want their own appointees on the council Trump's action is suspicious activists say. By Trudy Ring December 29 2017 2:41 PM EST

The Bush administration continued the council's charter and during the Obama administration the council created and monitored the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

At the time of this post, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) has not been staffed - and hasn't been since the Trump Administration began in January of 2017.

HIV/AIDS activist and senior attorney for Lambda Lega, Scott Schoettes, tweeted about it. "These issues are critical to people's health, and are critical to making new HIV infections rare".

Trump's firing came after six members of the council resigned in June in response to the administration's health policies, writing that "the Trump Administration does not take the on-going epidemic or needs of people living with HIV seriously".

Trump's support of the thrice defeated "Trumpcare" plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Healthcare Act ("Obamacare") would've harmed countless Americans living with HIV. "He has fired the remaining 16 members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS".

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While Hayes confirmed that the White House fired the remaining members this week, she also pointed out that the Trump administration has every right to appoint new members to the council.

The website, which says it was updated December 28, now shows two staff and no council members.

'Changing the makeup of federal advisory committee members is a common occurrence during Administration changes.

During the Obama administration, almost all of George W. Bush's appointees were eliminated prior to new appointees being named.

'All PACHA members are eligible to apply to serve on the new council that will be convened in 2018'.

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The firings were announced in separate letters mailed to the council members by FedEx earlier this week. "I can only speculate", Maldonado said this week.

The administration wanted to make changes to the advisory committee in order to find its own appointees, according to media reports.

He said that the council members still had time left to serve their terms. "It is important to have a rolling, transitioning body that crosses administrations that really has a set of diverse outlooks on the epidemic", Sullivan said.

Trump's ignorance on the issue was evident last week as well. He said "the explanation is still unclear" over why the administration chose this week to let them go. The nomination period closes on Tuesday. Schoettes is not optimistic that the notice will attract qualified people. Almost half - 48 percent - of those diagnosed with AIDS in the United States are African Americans, according to 2015 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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