Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence reportedly took issue with the fact that HIV/AIDS activists were speaking at the 1996 Republican Convention.
Mike Pence doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to HIV/AIDS. As part of his continued war against Planned Parenthood while he was in Congress, his state GOP-led legislature slashed funding to the clinics that often provide people with HIV tests for low or no cost. They also banned needle exchange programs statewide that would have supplied drug users with clean needles so they wouldn’t spread diseases. The result was an outbreak of HIV in Scott County, Indiana in just 65 days.
If that isn’t bad enough, in 2000, Pence wanted to use “conversion therapy” to fight HIV/AIDS. According to BuzzFeed, Pence said federal funding should go somewhere other than places that would actually protect or help people. “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” Pence wrote on his campaign website in 2000 under a section on LGBT issues.
Now it seems those were just a continuation of disgust Pence has with those diagnosed with the virus. According to Sirius host and People for the American Way fellow Ari Rabin-Havt, writing at RightWingWatch, Pence was writing for the Indiana Policy Review, a conservative think-tank, when he wrote how disgusted he was by the GOP’s inability to represent the base.
“The sad truth is that the Republican Party for all its success in generating media praise for the convention failed to present the personalities or principles of interest to its base constituency, the modern Reagan coalition,” Pence wrote.
“An endless line of pro-choice women, AIDS activists and proponents of affirmative action may have stuck a chord with the Washington press corps. They bombed, however, in Peoria,” Pence continued.
At the time, Pence was still working on his right-wing talk-radio show and had not yet won his seat in Congress.