The White House isn’t giving any clear answers about the future of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
At the end of the year, Donald Trump allegedly fired the entire council without warning. The 16 members received their termination letter via FedEx and no other explanation.
This came after six previous members resigned in June, writing they could no longer do their jobs with a president ‘who simply does not care’.
Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson asked Press Secretary Sarah Sanders about any developments. This is their exchange.
.@PressSec It's time to stop being dismissive of questions about the firing of members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS. It's time for this administration to prioritize issues related to HIV and AIDS. pic.twitter.com/e1RJZmLTsW
— GLAAD (@glaad) January 9, 2018
Johnson asked Sanders if the presidents wants to see the memberships refilled.
Sanders simply responds: ‘We’re looking at the different options and we’ll keep you posted if we have an announcement on that front.’
Johnson himself also tweeted about it.
.@PressSec tells me Trump admin “looking at different options” on restaffing HIV/AIDS council after terminating members over the holidays.
— Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) January 9, 2018
A previous member of the council, Gabriel Maldonado, believed the terminations had to do with most of them being Obama appointees.
He explained: ‘I can only speculate, like any administration, they want their own people there.’
History of the council
President Bill Clinton first created the council in 1995.
Its existence came about as an attempt to further understand and create a government response to the AIDS crisis. It was preceded by Ronald Reagan’s President’s Commission on the HIV Epidemic from 1987-88 and the National Commission on AIDS from 1989-93.
President George W. Bush renewed the council’s contract in July 2001, before Trump suddenly abolished all members.