It’s been a tough week for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
The former Secretary of State, lost the Michigan primary (a state she thought she had on lock), got bodied by Sanders during this week’s debate and most recently, Twitter snatched her edges straight off when she praised the former First Lady Nancy Reagan for her HIV activism. During an MSNBC interview at Mrs. Reagan’s funeral, Clinton said that “the Reagans, especially Nancy, helped start a national conversation about HIV/AIDS. She said their “low-key advocacy” helped “penetrated the public conscience, and people began to say, ‘Hey, we have to do something about this.’”
Gurl whet? That’s just as factual as saying that African-Americans prospered economically because of Reaganomics.
The truth is that under Reagan’s tenure as president, generations of Americans, especially gay and bisexual men, died from AIDS due directly to the President’s inaction and silence. Reagan waited until 1987 to even give a speech about the disease, a whopping six years after the epidemic hit and 40,000 lives lost, The New York Times noted. And then there are these recordings from the 80s of Reagan’s staff laughing about how the epidemic was wiping out “homos.”
So, if any conversation was ever had in this country it was because of fierce AIDS activists who fearlessly held the government and their agencies accountable at every given turn.
Thankfully, Twitter was not here for Clinton’s revisionist history:
A few hours later, Clinton offered an apology:
Not sure who is working with the former Secretary of State on her talking points, but that response seemed a little bare and a little curt. And while we understand that it’s not nice to speak ill of the dead, perhaps her apology would have been more effective had she clarified just how much the Reagan’s did not do for AIDS and the how the impact from their political complacency is still felt to this day, especially as the epidemic is ravishing communities of color.