Hillary Clinton Says She "Made a Mistake, Plain and Simple"

Hillary Clinton has issued an extensive apology after her comments about Nancy Reagan and the AIDS crisis backfired.

At Nancy Reagan's funeral last Friday, Hillary Clinton spoke to MSNBC about the former first lady's legacy. She said Mrs. Reagan and President Ronald Reagan helped push the HIV and AIDS crisis into the spotlight in the 1980s whe many others ignored it.

"Because of both President and Mrs. Reagan — in particular Mrs. Reagan — we started a national conversation when before, nobody would talk about it, nobody wanted to do anything about it." She added that it was Mrs. Reagan's "low-key advocacy" that penetrated the public conscience.

Here's the clip.

Hillary Clinton: The Reagans, particularly Nancy, helped start "a national conversation" about HIV and AIDS. https://t.co/7sZp8X53fb

— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 11, 2016

After her comments aired, plenty of people were to quick to point out that the Reagans failed people with HIV and AIDS. (Indeed, by the time President Reagan first spoke about AIDS in 1987, tens of thousands had died from it; what's more, people from his administration mocked people with AIDS, and Nancy Reagan refused to help her friend Rock Hudson when he was dying of AIDS.)

While I respect her advocacy on issues like stem cell & Parkinson's research, Nancy Reagan was, sadly, no hero in the fight against HIV/AIDS

— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) March 11, 2016

Clinton: because of Reagan and Nancy Reagan we started a "national conversation" on AIDS.

What the hell is she on? pic.twitter.com/92hVNW0gwP

— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) March 11, 2016

Since then, Hillary Cliton has written a thoughtful apology on Medium.

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.

I want to use this opportunity to talk not only about where we've come from, but where we must go in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
To be clear, the Reagans did not start a national conversation about HIV and AIDS. That distinction belongs to generations of brave lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, along with straight allies, who started not just a conversation but a movement that continues to this day.

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.

You can read the full post here. Some commenters have noted that Clinton never addressed the harm the Reagan administration caused the AIDS movement, but they were still appreciative of her apology.