Mike Pence is Lucifer if instead of creating hell after being drop-kicked out of heaven, Lucifer decided to land in Indiana and become a politician.
Pence is nothing more than ugliness presented with pleasantries. Some appear to find that impressive—at least in comparison with President Minute Maid Mao. This is akin to arguing that Jeremih is Luther Vandross Jr. because he sings better than the man behind the “Why You Always Lyin’” video.
Everyone has the right to suffer from the bigotry of low expectations, but when it comes to speaking on Pence’s political work—specifically with respect to fighting HIV/AIDS—you best be informed before offering undeserved praise.
Last weekend, Bono met Pence at the Munich Security Conference and championed Pence for helping to get the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief passed in 2003 and then renewed in 2008. Bono told Pence, “Twice on the House floor you defended that. That’s how we know you, and we really appreciate that.” In response, Pence said, “It was an extraordinary historic accomplishment, and you played a leading role in carrying it forward.”
Bono then jokingly referred to Pence as “the second-busiest man in America.” Somewhere, Stephen Bannon, Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, Reince Preibus and Ivanka Trump’s declining businesses are all saying, “Bitch, you tried it.”
No one can question Bono’s commitment to fighting AIDS in Africa. However, if one is dedicated to battling AIDS all over the world, why would anyone salute a man whose stubbornness helped create the worst HIV outbreak in his state’s history as governor? In 2013, then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence slashed public health spending, which led to the closure of Planned Parenthood in Scott County—the only facility that provided HIV testing in that county.
Then, in 2015, HIV was spreading at alarming rates among intravenous drug users in a rural area of the state. Local, state and federal health officials all urged the governor to allow clean needles to be distributed to help thwart the outbreak. Pence initially refused to allow needle exchanges because he believed they helped spread drug use. It would be months before Pence changed his mind, and even then, it was insufficient.
In 2016, Politico’s Paul Demko reported:
With new cases mounting, Pence eventually agreed to extend the amnesty in Scott County beyond 30 days and to sign statewide legislation lifting the state ban on exchange programs. That compromise did not give counties a green light to distribute sterile needles to intravenous drug users, however. Instead, it requires officials from counties experiencing increasing HIV or hepatitis C infections to declare a public health emergency and then submit a plan for state approval to set up needle-exchange programs for up to one year.
The legislation didn’t include any money to assist counties, many of which are rural and already struggling. And it explicitly prohibited using state funds to purchase syringes.
“He was dragged kicking and screaming into signing the bill that we got passed,” said Rep. Patrick Bauer, a Democrat who serves on the public health committee.
A year after the legislation was passed, only five counties put needle-exchange programs in place, but “two dozen took steps to set them up, according to the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention.” Many of these people were assisted thanks to Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid program—the very program Pence is now seeking to dismantle.
Of course, Pence is the same person who now disputes past support of conversion therapy but nonetheless has a long history of anti-LGBTQ stances. And since Bono has an affinity for the Pence of the previous decade, in 2002, Pence claimed that “condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases” while arguing that using condoms as a solution to STDs was “too modern.”
While speaking with Wolf Blitzer, Pence was asked for his opinion of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell’s push for STD prevention with wider condom access. Pence said:
Well, I just simply believe the only truly safe sex, Wolf, as the president believes, is no sex. And we ought to, with leaders of the stature of the secretary of state, we ought to be sending a message to kids across the country and the opportunity had across the world that abstinence is the best choice for young people. But, let’s be clear, last year, the National Institute of Health, Wolf, and some 28 separate experts said at least a half dozen to 10 sexually transmitted diseases for which condom use has zero preventative value. The secretary of state is simply wrong. The problem is it was too modern of an answer, Wolf. It was—it truly was a modern, liberal answer to a problem that parents like me are facing all over America, and frankly, all over the world.
Left Eye didn’t wear a condom on her face for such a gross public display of stupidity.
Bono can be pleased with Pence’s support of PEPFAR in years past, but after that introduction, a more informed opinion of his work would show that he is no friend to causes that seek to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Any good Pence did on behalf of PEPFAR ought to be negated by what he’s done in Indiana and what he plans to do as vice president in a Republican administration committed to soiling an already fledgling health care industry. Don’t laud that man for minimal displays of basic decency. He won’t do anything but smile as he does to the nation what he did to Indiana.