Democratic Candidate Accused of Re-Writing History
"It may be difficult for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/AIDS in the 1980s," Clinton told MSNBC while attending the former First Lady's funeral at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
"And because of President and Mrs. Reagan – in particular Mrs. Reagan – we started a national converation, when before, nobody would talk about it, nobody wanted to do anything about it. That too is something that I really appreciate, with her very effective low-key advocacy. But it penetrated the public conscience, and people began to say, 'Hey, we have to do something about this too.'"
Late President Reagan and the late First Lady are widely remembered as having ignored the HIV/AIDS crisis, allowing what some say are countless more deaths as a result of their refusal to act. Many believe had the disease been prevalent among non-minority citizens it would have received far greater attention and funding. During last year's Ebola fear, the federal and state governments mobilized even before there was a single case in the U.S., leaving many to ask why that didn't happen under Reagan's watch, for people with HIV/AIDS.
Hillary Clinton: The Reagans, particularly Nancy, helped start "a national conversation" about HIV and AIDS. https://t.co/7sZp8X53fb— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 11, 2016
Many took to social media immediately to express outrage and refute the claim.
Attorney and journalist Glenn Greenwald:
Buzzfeed Legal Editor Chris Geidner, who points to his story about the Reagan White House ignoring their friend Rock Hudson's pleas for help, weeks before his death:
The White House did not decide that AIDS would be an issue to “get into” until nearly 2 years after Hudson’s death. https://t.co/LRe9HS0jab— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) March 11, 2016
Human Rights Campaign president and Clinton supporter Chad Griffin:
While I respect her advocacy on issues like stem cell & Parkinson's research, Nancy Reagan was, sadly, no hero in the fight against HIV/AIDS— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) March 11, 2016
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who kept her response short:
Sometimes you can’t have it both ways. So, so insulting to some real heroes. https://t.co/CbDHwIQyA5— Christian Turner (@christor) March 11, 2016
The New Civil Rights Movement has reached out to the Clinton campaign for comment but has yet to receive a response.