The White House excluded LGBT people and people of color from its World AIDS Day proclamation.
The letter, signed by President Donald Trump, was released on the eve of the December 1 event raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic, which has taken more than 35 million lives in over three decades.
"On this day, we pray for all those living with HIV, and those who have lost loved ones to AIDS," stated the letter, which lists a general review of statistics and the work of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. It concluded with a call from Trump "to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support and compassion to those living with HIV."
There is no mention of gay and bisexual men, transgender women, or people of color, who are more affected by the virus than other groups in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This exclusion is a departure from the Obama administration, which listed these groups in its 2016 proclamation for World AIDS Day.
"Gay and bisexual men, transgender people, youth, black and Latino Americans, people living in the Southern United States, and people who inject drugs are at a disproportionate risk," stated the letter signed by President Obama. "People living with HIV can face stigma and discrimination, creating barriers to prevention and treatment services."
Obama's proclamation also listed clear commitments to fighting HIV that were excluded from Trump's, including "encouraging treatment as prevention, expanding access to pre-exposure prophylaxis, eliminating waiting lists for medication assistance programs, and working toward a vaccine." However, there was no mention of PrEP or TasP by Trump, who only vaguely promised "to invest in testing initiatives" for HIV in the U.S.
Moreover, in his letter, Obama touted how access to health care is expanded by Affordable Care Act, as "no one can be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions like HIV." Trump has actively worked to dismantle Obamacare.
When asked by The Daily Beast why LGBT people and people of color were not included in the World AIDS Day proclamation, the White House press secretary's office stated, "HIV/AIDS afflicts people of all types."
This is not the first time Trump has exercised an "All Lives Matter"-esque logic to exclude marginalized groups. Jews were purposely omitted from the White House’s official statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day in January. At the time, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said Jewish people weren’t mentioned because, “despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered.”
In addition, Trump's Columbus Day proclamation failed to mention Native Americans and the devastation they endured as a result of European colonization.