Hillary Clinton came under fire on Friday after she made an egregiously incorrect statement at Nancy Reagan's funeral in regards to the HIV/AIDS crisis during Reagan's presidency. Clinton said, "And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan—in particular Mrs. Reagan—we started a national conversation." The Reagans were in fact not advocates of HIV/AIDS activism at all, which Clinton's supporters irate and confused at her erroneous claim. She initially took back the praise for Nancy Reagan's nonexistent AIDS activism, but now she's taken it a step further by issuing a formal public apology, Jezebel reports.
In the formal apology published on Medium, Clinton wastes no time in admitting that what she said was utterly incorrect, which is totally necessary before she proceeds. She takes responsibility for the comment in the first paragraph.
“Yesterday, at Nancy Reagan’s funeral, I said something inaccurate when speaking about the Reagans’ record on HIV and AIDS. Since then, I’ve heard from countless people who were devastated by the loss of friends and loved ones, and hurt and disappointed by what I said. As someone who has also lost friends and loved ones to AIDS, I understand why. I made a mistake, plain and simple.”
She specifically notes that the Reagans were not responsible for starting a national conversation about AIDS and that the real heroes who deserve the credit are the LGBT communities and organizations that fought tirelessly to bring the reality of the epidemic to the forefront of the national consciousness in the '80s and '90s.
“The AIDS crisis in America began as a quiet, deadly epidemic. Because of discrimination and disregard, it remained that way for far too long. When many in positions of power turned a blind eye, it was groups like ACT UP, Gay Men’s Health Crisis and others that came forward to shatter the silence — because as they reminded us again and again, Silence = Death. They organized and marched, held die-ins on the steps of city halls and vigils in the streets. They fought alongside a few courageous voices in Washington, like U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, who spoke out from the floor of Congress.
Clinton ends the much-needed apology by emphasizing her promise to continue to fight against HIV/AIDS, although she never touches upon the fact that the Reagans actively refused to address the crisis until thousands of people had already succumbed to the disease. Not a perfect apology, but we'll take it.