I realize there aren't a lot of things good to say about Nancy Reagan, but maybe Hillary Clinton should have considered just a general statement about her late-in-life support for stem cell research rather than considering any kind of praise for how she and St. Ronnie handled the HIV/AIDS crisis.
But that's what she did in an interview with MSNBC earlier today.
Hillary Clinton: The Reagans, particularly Nancy, helped start "a national conversation" about HIV and AIDS. https://t.co/7sZp8X53fb
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 11, 2016
On this, she stepped in a big pile as far as I can see. I have no idea what she was thinking when she said this, other than trying to stretch to find anything nice to say about a First Lady who was utterly unlikeable.
One of the things I remember most from the Reagan years was how rabidly reluctant they were to acknowledge HIV/AIDS or its victims, even when their friend Rock Hudson died of it.
In 2015, BuzzFeed News published documentation showing, for the first time, that Nancy Reagan had, in 1985, declined to provide assistance requested by Rock Hudson to help fight the disease in France, with officials directing him instead to the U.S. Embassy there. Hudson died nine weeks later.
Throughout the Reagan administration, moreover, AIDS activists — led by groups like ACT UP — protested the federal government’s inaction and, later, slow action at addressing the disease.
Their most famed slogan: “SILENCE = DEATH.”
Asked about Clinton’s comments, the head of the nation’s largest LGBT rights organization — which has endorsed Clinton — avoided criticizing Clinton directly.
“While I respect her advocacy in other areas including stem cell and Parkinson’s research, Nancy Reagan was, sadly, no hero in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin told BuzzFeed News.
Gosh, Hillary. Sometimes if you can't say anything nice (and true) about someone, maybe don't say anything at all.
Sady Doyle tweeted this:
Like, "speak well of the dead" doesn't extend to repeating every bullshit rumor about them adopting a puppy you ever heard. "It's sad." Out.↓ Story continues below ↓
— Sady Doyle (@sadydoyle) March 11, 2016
Not everyone shares my opinion, but many do. Here's one tweet from someone who doesn't.
She was at her funeral! She said something nice about NR that many people, including her son, think is true of her. https://t.co/LJOR1YUz40
— Michael Cohen (@speechboy71) March 11, 2016
There is this article, pointing out that Michael Reagan is one of the people advancing that spin, too.
She has apologized and clarified her remarks:
Hillary Clinton’s statement on her comments about the Reagans' record on HIV and AIDS: pic.twitter.com/RtIs0zpJfk
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 11, 2016