Trump fires all members of HIV/AIDS council without explanation

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With no explanation, the White House has terminated members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS amid widespread discontent with President Trump’s approach to the epidemic.
After six members of PACHA resigned in June, the White House on Wednesday terminated the remaining 16 members without explanation via a letter from FedEx.

Scott Schoettes, a Chicago-based HIV/AIDS activist and senior attorney for Lambda Legal, was one of the six who resigned in June over Trump’s inaction on HIV/AIDS and said on Twitter the remaining members were fired.

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12.28.17 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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New Year’s Eve is upon us. This day has changed for me over the past few years. Usually I’d spend the evening getting drunk and complaining about how awful the year was. At midnight my friends and I would hug each other in the hopes for a better new year.

December 31, 2014 would be much of the same. In the early morning hours of that day my father passed away, pretty much sealing the deal on making 2014 an awful year. Later that evening my family joined me at my favorite watering hole before we all retreated back to my place where I drank the year away. That was the last New Year’s Eve I would spend drunk.

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Washington Blade, April Ryan excluded from White House’s Christmas party guest list

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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For the first time in years, the White House has excluded notable black and LGBT reporters from its Christmas party guest list.

Chris Johnson, chief political and White House reporter for the Washington Blade, received numerous invites under the Obama administration and was an attendee to the annual event for the last seven years. Johnson told Politico he contacted the White House to ask about this year’s invitation but his query went unanswered.

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Gays under consideration for presidential AIDS advisory panel

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Gay Republicans knowledgeable on AIDS issues and LGBT people involved in AIDS work have been among those contacted by a Trump administration official for a possible appointment to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS known as PACHA, according sources familiar with the advisory body.

The outreach to potential LGBT appointees began shortly after President Trump issued an executive order on Sept. 29 extending the life of PACHA and 31 other presidential advisory committees for at least one more year.

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White House denies Trump joked Pence ‘wants to hang’ gays

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is contesting a report President Trump made an highly criticized joke Vice President Mike Pence “wants to hang” all gay people.

The administration top’s spokesperson issued a statement to the Washington Blade and other media outlets denying Trump made the joke, which was reported in a New Yorker profile piece about Pence and his ties to the corporate right, including the Koch brothers.

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LGBT, HIV groups pan Trump’s executive order on health care

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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LGBT and HIV/AIDS groups are criticizing President Trump’s executive order on health care, asserting the measure endangers people with pre-existing conditions who could be left out in the cold.

Trump signed the executive order Thursday in the Oval Office in front of Vice President Pence, senior administration officials and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who opposes Obamacare, but has threatened to vote “no” on legislative replacement plans.

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Trump administration: Legal challenge to trans military ban ‘premature’

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The Trump administration called a legal challenge to President Trump’s transgender military ban “premature several times over” in a brief filed late Wednesday seeking to block LGBT legal groups from putting the policy on hold as litigation against it moves forward.

In a 49-page filing, the U.S. Justice Department responds to a request for a preliminary injunction in Doe v. Trump, the lawsuit filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders pending before federal court in D.C. The lawsuit was assigned to U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a Clinton appointee.

The brief takes issue with the filing of the lawsuit, noting it was filed after Trump tweeted he’d ban transgender service members, but before he formally directed the Pentagon to take that action in a White House memo.

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White House: Vote against UN death penalty resolution not about gays

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The Trump administration is pushing back against criticism over its vote at the United Nations against a resolution repudiating the death penalty, saying the move wasn’t about the application of the punishment to same-sex relationships.

A White House National Security Council spokesperson said Tuesday the vote against the measure is consistent with other U.S. votes at the United Nations against the death penalty resolution in previous administrations.

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White House invokes ‘religious freedom’ to defend anti-gay nominee

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders invoked “religious freedom” on Monday to defend one of President Trump’s judicial nominees who has faced criticism for her views, including opposition to same-sex marriage.

Sanders made the remarks in response to a question from The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal, which asked if the White House is concerned about criticism in Congress and the media over Amy Barrett. Trump nominated her for a seat on the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

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White House distances Trump from Roy Moore’s anti-gay views

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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President Trump may have said on Twitter Roy Moore “sounds like a really great guy,” but White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was busy Thursday distancing Trump from the U.S. Senate candidate over his anti-gay views.

In response to questions from mainstream media outlets, Sanders said Trump, who has his own anti-LGBT record, doesn’t share the views of Moore, who’s said homosexual conduct should illegal and called on Alabama to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. On Tuesday, Moore won a Republican primary to run for an open seat representing Alabama in the U.S. Senate.

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Trump admin comes out against amendment protecting trans troops

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The Trump administration has come out against an amendment proposed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) that would undermine President Trump ban on transgender people in the U.S. armed forces.

A White House National Security Council spokesperson told the Washington Blade the administration opposes the amendment, which may be considered on the U.S. Senate floor this week as part of the fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill.

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No answers from White House on trans ban, ‘religious freedom’ EO

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Amid ongoing media reports about the White House plan to bar transgender people from the U.S. military, President Trump’s top spokesperson had no answers Thursday on the status of the proposal.

During her regular news conference, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dodged in response to a question about how close the administration is to finalizing the policy and the discretion the Defense Department will have in implementing it.

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