Donald Trump reportedly wants to punish cities for protesting racism by shamelessly cutting their HIV funding

Patrick Kelleher
·3-min read

Donald Trump reportedly wants to punish cities for protesting racism by stripping them of vital HIV funding.

On September 2, Trump instructed federal departments to slash funding in such cities where “lawlessness” is promoted and police departments are “disempowered”.

Now, Politico has obtained a list from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) identifying federal grants for health services in the four cities that could face cuts.

The president is considering pulling funding for HIV treatment, coronavirus relief funds, screenings for newborn babies and other programs in New York City, Portland, Washington D.C. and Seattle, according to documents obtained by Politico.

The Trump administration has reportedly branded the Democrat-led cities as “anarchist jurisdictions” because of his belief their mayors should have done more to quash anti-racism protests and riots over the summer.

Trump reportedly plans to cut his own HIV initiative.

The list was reportedly sent to the White House budget office on Friday (October 23) and includes 185 grant programs that have allowed funds to be given to services in New York, Portland, Washington D.C. and Seattle since 2018.

One of the programs identified on the memo for potential cuts is Trump’s own 2019 initiative to bring about an end to the HIV epidemic. When he launched the campaign, Trump suggested that “scientific breakthroughs” had brought the “once distant dream” of ending HIV within reach.

A federal grant of $850,000 given to King County through 2025 to support the initiative is just one of the grants that could be slashed.

The news will come as a blow to people living with HIV in the United States, but it will hardly come as a surprise.

There was widespread scepticism when Donald Trump pledged in his 2019 State of the Union speech to bring an end to HIV and AIDS by 2030.

Many critics said the president’s words were meaningless without action, while others pointed to his appalling track record on HIV and AIDS. In 2017, he dissolved the Office of National AIDS Policy and dismissed the entirety of the Presidential Advisory Council.

Other programs around lung disease research and addiction services could also face cuts. Funding for migrant health centres could also be stripped of funding under the Trump directive.

Cities could be stripped of existing funds.

The HSS list will reportedly be used to establish whether cities should be prevented from accessing federal funds going forward for various programs.

There are fears that those cities could also lose existing funds that had already been granted as part of Trump’s pushback against equality.

An unnamed administration official told the publication: “As the data comes in, the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) will collect it and make a decision.”

The official said the office will assess each grant on an individual basis and said the review is still in its early stages.

A huge array of federal grants are reportedly on the chopping block – but those that are considered to support law enforcement authorities are likely to be protected, according to a memo sent by OMB director Russ Vought on September 21.