Dr. Anthony Fauci praised the "incredible courage and dignity and strength" of the gay community -- while standing next to homophobic vice president Mike Pence.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases made the remarks at the White House press briefing while addressing how COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting Black Americans.
"Sometimes, when you're in the middle of a crisis, it does shine a very bright light on some of the weaknesses of our society. As some of you know, a greater portion of my career has been defined by HIV/AIDS," said Fauci, who has held his post since 1984 during the Reagan administration.
"During that time, there was extraordinary stigma, particularly against the gay community," Fauci said. "And it was only when the world realized how the gay community responded to this outbreak with incredible courage and dignity and strength and activism, I think that really changed some of the stigma against the gay community, very much so."
Fauci, addressing studies that show higher rates of the novel coronavirus in the African-American community, saw a "similarity" between the two health crises. In Michigan, African-Americans comprise 35 percent of COVID-19 cases, even though they comprise just 14.1 percent of the population.
"Here again, with the crisis now, it's shining a bright light on how acceptable that is, because yet again, when you have a situation like the coronavirus, [minorities] are suffering disproportionately," he said.
Fauci made his remarks in the company of Pence, who in his prior post as Indiana governor disastrously mishandled an HIV outbreak and sparked backlash for signing a so-called "religious freedom" bill that essentially gave business owners a license to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
LGBTQ people are also an at-risk group for the novel coronavirus due to stigma and various barriers to accessing health care, a circumstance unfortunately shared among marginalized communities.