Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

How the Reagan White House responded to AIDS.

I just read these transcripts from White House press conferences on the AIDS crisis. It's jaw droppingly wrong and inhumane in retrospect...

From Oct. 15th, 1982, in the early years of the AIDS crisis:

So, he asked the White House spokesman about AIDS, and the response that he got -- besides jokes -- was that nobody there had it... Back then, they didn't even know how contagious it was -- what if it were more virulent? What if it was potentially transmittable through saliva or even airborne? What if it were Ebola?

Here's a second press conference, from June 13, 1983... more jokes:

And finally, from a press conference on December 11th, 1984, over two years since the White House Spokesman was notified about AIDS and was encouraged to do something about a growing epidemic in our country:

Office of the Press Secretary

December 11, 1984
The Briefing Room
12:03 p.m. EST

MR. SPEAKES: Lester's beginning to circle now. He's moving in front. (Laughter.) Go ahead.

Q: Since the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta (laughter) reports...

MR. SPEAKES:This is going to be an AIDS question.

Q: that an estimated

MR. SPEAKES:You were close.

Q: Well, look, could I ask the question, Larry?

MR. SPEAKES:You were close.

Q: An estimated 300,000 people have been exposed to AIDS, which can be transmitted through saliva. Will the President, as Commander-in-Chief, take steps to protect Armed Forces food and medical services from AIDS patients or those who run the risk of spreading AIDS in the same manner that they forbid typhoid fever people from being involved in the health or food services?

MR. SPEAKES: I don't know.

Q: Could you - Is the President concerned about this subject, Larry

MR. SPEAKES: I haven't heard him express...

Q: ...that seems to have evoked so much jocular

MR. SPEAKES: ...concern.

Q: reaction here? I - you know -

MR. SPEAKES:: It isn't only the jocks, Lester. Has he sworn off water faucets?

Q: No, but, I mean, is he going to do anything, Larry?

MR. SPEAKES: Lester, I have not heard him express anything on it. Sorry.

Q: You mean he has no expressed no opinion about this epidemic?

MR. SPEAKES: No, but I must confess I haven't asked him about it. (Laughter.)

Q: Would you ask him Larry?

MR. SPEAKES: Have you been checked? (Laughter.)


So, two years on and Mr. Speakes not only couldn't stop joking about AIDS, but he also didn't tell the President and made no effort to safeguard our military's blood, food, and medical supplies?

Not so funny anymore, is it?

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