ICYMI: INTO: Pence Plagiarized Trump’s 2017 Comments Commemorating World AIDS Days
November 30, 2018
If a Thursday speech from the White House commemorating World AIDS Day seemed familiar, that’s because it was pretty much the same one they delivered last year.
Vice President Mike Pence called the annual event a day to “remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS,” in a speech delivered to faith leaders, lawmakers, and officials within the Trump administration.
“But it’s also a day to celebrate the remarkable progress that we’ve made in combating this disease and to reaffirm our ongoing commitment to end AIDS as a public health threat,” Pence said to tremendous applause from the Beltway crowd. “We are closer today than ever before to ending the AIDS crisis in our time.”
For the second straight year, the administration’s comments failed to recognize one of the groups most affected by the virus: LGBTQ people. In 2016, gay and bisexual men comprised two-thirds of new HIV cases in the United States.
But to make matters worse, the remarks were nearly identical to those made by his boss, President Donald Trump, a year earlier.
In addition to slashing resources to fight HIV/AIDS around the world, Trump has disbanded his Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and refused to restaff the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). He has also redirected funding from the Ryan White Care Act to separate refugee families at the border and floated a policy ejecting HIV-positive troops from the military.
Meanwhile, Pence has been accused of contributing to an HIV outbreak while governor of Indiana in 2015. He has further claimed abstinence-only education is the effective only way to prevent the virus’ spread, calling condoms “a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases.”
While he was running for U.S. Congress in 2000, critics say Pence also advocated that funding for HIV/AIDS programs instead be directed to conversion therapy centers. In a statement on his campaign website, he claimed “federal dollars [should] no longer [be] given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.”
“Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” the website claimed.