13 Times The Reagan White House Press Briefing Erupted With Laughter Over AIDS
In Jon Cohen’s 2001 book, Shots in the Dark: The Wayward Search for an AIDS Vaccine , he detailed the Reagan administration’s early indifference to the growing epidemic. White House acting …
Q: Could you—Is the President concerned about this subject, Larry—
MR. SPEAKES: I haven’t heard him express—
Q: —that seems to have evoked so much jocular—
Q: —reaction here? I—you know—
Q: It isn’t only the jocks, Lester.
Q: Has he sworn off water faucets—
Q: No, but, I mean, is he going to do anything, Larry?
MR. SPEAKES: Lester, I have not heard him express anything on it. Sorry.
Q: You mean he has no—expressed no opinion about this epidemic?
MR. SPEAKES: No, but I must confess I haven’t asked him about it. (Laughter.)
Q: Would you ask him Larry?
MR. SPEAKES: Have you been checked? (Laughter.)
YES this is incredibly fucked up and unprofessional but I do think it’s important to realize that EVERYBODY was incredibly ignorant about AIDS during this time because of how new it was.
"Everybody" wasn’t laughing at White House press conferences about it though.
Some people were, like, dying.
(Point of correction: people weren’t IGNORANT. They weren’t fucked up. They weren’t unprofessional. They were homophobic. And a lot of people died because of that.)
if you think the administration was simply ignorant regarding the AIDS crisis i actually just need you to spend several days reading up on this subject. perhaps you just haven’t done so yet so please take that opportunity asap. you also just need to be corrected: AIDS became widely known in 1981 and the government did not acknowledge it until 1987. 21,000 people had died by that point. so clearly the ignorance was not caused by how “new” the disease was; it was about how queer the people suffering and dying were. that’s it.