President Donald Trump has fired all of the members the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS without explanation, according to reports.
Chicago-based Lambda Legal attorney Scott Schoettes, who had previously resigned from the council along with several other members, posted to Twitter on Dec. 28 that the remaining members of the council had been let go.
Schoettes said on the post, "Remaining #HIV/AIDS council members booted by @realDonaldTrump. No respect for their service. Dangerous that #Trump and Co. ( Pence esp. ) are eliminating few remaining people willing to push back against harmful policies, like abstinence-only sex ed."
The move is not unprecedented for a presidential administration, but one of the newly-terminated council members questioned the timing in an interview with Washington Blade.
"It is common for appointees to be terminated and for folks to kind of want their own people in," said Gabriel Maldonado, CEO of the Riverside, Calif.,-based LGBT and HIV/AIDS group Truevolution. "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."
Health providers and advocates in late December were alarmed by reported suggestions to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) discouraging the use of several terms and words, among them "transgender" and "evidence-based," so HIV/AIDS advocates will surely be watching the Trump administration's next actions regarding the council closely.
Washington Blade's article on the firings is at bit.ly/2DuyTW6 .