The White House's purge of Barack Obama-era federal appointees has taken a few more turns with the termination of all remaining 16 members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDs, allegedly via a FedEx letter that offered no explanation, the Washington Blade reported this week.
Schoettes was among six members who quit in June, and he went out with a fiery commentary in Newsweek: "The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and - most concerning - pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease", he wrote.
The notice "thanked me for my past service and said that my appointment was terminated, effective immediately", said Patrick Sullivan, an epidemiologist at Emory University who works on HIV testing programs. "Dangerous that #Trump and Co". He took to Twitter to lambaste the president's decision, accusing it of being part of a strategy to bring back "abstinence-only" sex education, among other "harmful policies".
The terminated members, the website said, were given the option to reapply after Tuesday.
"Like any administration, they want their own people there", Maldonado, who heads an LGBT and HIV/AIDS organization called Truevolution, said.
"It is a unsafe thing when the administration is eliminating people whose views are based in science and community experience", HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal in an interview with GPB. 'Many of us were Obama appointees.
Cecilia Chung, an Obama-era appointee who left voluntarily after her term expired earlier this year, echoed these concerns.
The firings were not unusual.
However, HIV/AIDS activists have been deeply critical of the White House's approach over the past year. Reports came out that Trump, behind closed doors and complaining about immigration statistics, was allegedly upset that tens of thousands of Haitians came to the US each year, telling advisers the immigrants from that nation "all have AIDS".
PACHA was founded during the Clinton administration amid the AIDS" crisis peak in the "90s-over 500,000 AIDS cases were reported in 1995 alone-and was created to help presidents manage policy and research on HIV and AIDS. This Trump HIV Council firing has continued to raise serious concerns about the president's interest in seriously addressing HIV domestically and overseas.
But Sullivan and Schoettes said that previous administrations had allowed members to serve full terms before appointing replacements.
"I was co-chair of the disparities committee, so much of my advocacy and policy references surrounded vulnerable populations, addressing issuing of diverse communities, specifically looking at the impacts of the LGBT community, namely, the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS to people of color, gay men, transgender women", Maldonado said.