President Donald Trump reportedly fired the sixteen remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) Wednesday via a letter FedExed from the White House.
According to Newsweek, the mass dismissal arrives months after six members from PACHA resigned in June and penned an open letter to Trump, saying that his administration was promoting legislation that would harm those living with HIV.
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Gabriel Maldonado, a former PACHA adviser, reportedly confirmed the firings to the Washington Blade, but added that the explanation remains "unclear."
“Like any administration, they want their own people there,” Maldonado told the outlet. “Many of us were Obama appointees. I was an Obama appointee and my term was continuing until 2018.”
Scott Schoettes, a council member who quit PACHA in June, called the move a "purge" on Twitter Thursday said the White House was "eliminating few remaining people willing to push back against harmful policies, like abstinence-only sex ed.” The President had also reportedly just renewed PACHA’s brief for another year in September.
Remaining #HIV/AIDS council members booted by @realDonaldTrump. No respect for their service. Dangerous that #Trump and Co. (Pence esp.) are eliminating few remaining people willing to push back against harmful policies, like abstinence-only sex ed. #WeObject#PACHA6#Resist
— Scott A. Schoettes (@PozAdvocate) December 28, 2017
However, as Newsweek noted, the move by an administrator to "purge" PACHA is not unprecedented as the Obama administration also eliminated all of former President George W. Bush’s appointees in the same way once he assumed power.