President Donald Trump outlined his priorities for the coming year in his State of the Union address, which included renewing his pledge to beat HIV by 2030, on Tuesday (February 4)—however, he failed to include any explicit mention of the LGBTQ community.
“We have launched ambitious new initiatives to substantially improve care for Americans with kidney disease, Alzheimer’s and those struggling with mental health,” Trump said during the address. “And because Congress was so good as to fund my request, new cures for childhood cancer, and we will eradicate the AIDS epidemic in America by the end of this decade.”
However, he did not mention the LGBTQ community in any capacity, despite being a disproportionately at-risk community for HIV/AIDS. Instead, he referenced his support for religious freedom, which his administration has notoriously used to embolden anti-LGBTQ discrimination, especially in terms of HIV treatment.
“My administration is also defending religious liberty, and that includes the constitutional right to pray in public schools,” he said. “In America, we don’t punish prayer. We don’t tear down crosses. We don’t ban symbols of faith. We don’t muzzle preachers and pastors. In America, we celebrate faith, we cherish religion, we lift our voices in prayer, and we raise our sights to the Glory of God.”
He further promised to protect “Medicare and…social security,” as well as “patients with pre-existing conditions.” However, as the New York Times notes, Trump has failed to strengthen either Medicare or social security. He has also worked to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which protects those with pre-existing conditions.
The lack of LGBTQ representation in Trump’s speech starkly contrasts former President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address he gave in 2016, where he spoke of his hope for equality.
“I can promise that a little over a year from now, when I no longer hold this office, I will be right there with you as a citizen, inspired by those voices of fairness and vision, of grit and good humor and kindness that helped American travel so far,” he said. “Voices that help us see ourselves not, first and foremost, as black or white, or Asian or Latino, not as gay or straight, immigrant or native born, not as Democrat or Republican, but as Americans first, bound by a common creed.”