Hillary Clinton sparks outrage by praising Nancy Reagan’s “low-key” AIDS activism

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

During an interview at Nancy Reagan’s funeral today, Hillary Clinton applauded the former first lady’s “low key advocacy” for HIVAIDS awareness by starting a “national conversation; a statement that immediately stirred outrage.

Here’s her complete statement:

“It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan, in particular, Mrs. Reagan, we started national conversation when before no one would talk about it, no one wanted to do anything about it, and that too is something that really appreciated, 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.’”

 

That’s not how people remember it:

UPDATE:
Hillary Clinton has apologized via the following statement:

While the Reagans were strong advocates for stem cell research and finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, I misspoke about their record on HIV and AIDS,” Clinton said in a statement. “For that, I’m sorry.”

The Reagans also lost a close friend to AIDS, actor Rock Hudson, who died two years before Reagan’s speech. And documents obtained by Buzzfeed News earlier this year revealed that Hudson appealed to Nancy Reagan for help obtaining treatment before his death. She declined to assist.

“Nancy and Ron Reagan were a functional team in the Presidency,” wrote AIDS activist Kenneth Bunch, aka Sister Vicious Power Hungry B—-, according to the Guardian. “They are both responsible for the death of thousands from HIV in the LGBT community due to their inaction in the 1980’s. So I understand the anger in the LGBT community toward Nancy. I feel that anger as well.”

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