Donald John Trump made a proclamation to commemorate World AIDS Day.
Do you think he would call attention to specific groups of Americans who have been disproportionately affected by this disease? Gay people? Or people of color? Oh, no! He didn’t go there.
The president broke with decades of tradition by failing to mention the LGBT community, or racial minorities, or poor people in declaring his intention rid the world of this terrible disease.
“Today, on World AIDS Day, we honor those who have lost their lives to AIDS, we celebrate the remarkable progress we have made in combatting this disease, and we reaffirm our ongoing commitment to end AIDS as a public health threat,” Trump said.
I learned a hard truth while attending the International Conference on AIDS in 2004 in Bangkok, Thailand. It is that the disease has spread far beyond where it began in the early 1980s, when it was killing primarily gay men. It now affects sex workers and the spouses of men who become affected with HIV/AIDS through unprotected sex with women who are infected with the virus.
The president made no mention of those groups while making his declaration.
As The Hill reported: Scott Schoettes, a project director at the legal advocacy group Lambda Legal criticized the proclamation in a statement to BuzzFeed.
“Not only did the White House statement on World AIDS Day fail to mention the population in which two-thirds of HIV cases in the US occur — gay and bisexual men — it also failed to point out the disproportionate impact in communities of color, for gay and bisexual men of color, particularly young men of color, or for transgender women,” he said.
Here again, I am saddened to say, is another example of the president feeling queasy about talking to — or about — constituency groups that opposed his election and who continue to oppose his policies.
A politician who pledges to be a president for “all Americans” should be able to summon the rhetoric that speaks to everyone’s particular concerns. Once again, the president has failed to speak to the entire country.