Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS abruptly resigned this week, citing the Trump administration’s neglect in fighting the health epidemic.
The departing members of the White House advisory council penned a chiding editorial blasting President Trump’s failure to combat the disease during his first 100 days in office.
“We have dedicated our lives to combating this disease and no longer feel we can do so effectively within the confines of an advisory body to a president who simply does not care,” wrote Lambda Legal lawyer Scott Schoettes, in a statement published Friday through Newsweek magazine.
He stepped down Tuesday, along with Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses Burley III, Michelle Ogle and Grissel Granados.
The council, created during former President Bill Clinton’s first term in 1995, makes recommendations through the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Its lone meeting this year took place in March.
In the editorial, Schoettes cites Trump’s “lack of understanding and concern” during the presidential primaries — refusing to meet with HIV advocates — and at least one grievance that unfolded hours after his swearing-in oath in January.
The White House deleted a page for the Office of National AIDS Policy website and has since failed to name a replacement to its vacated seat on the Domestic Policy Council.
Schoettes named the GOP’s attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act as “the final straw” in cutting ties with the administration, explaining that “the biggest losers” will be American minorities.
“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 epicenter of the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic,” Schoettes said.
“It will be young gay and bisexual men; it will be women of color; it will be transgender women; it will be low-income people.”
Bradley-Springer told Buzzfeed she wishes the best for the remaining dozen or so members on the council, following the exodus.
“It could be that they will make a difference and we do need intelligent people who know what they’re doing,” she told the news site.