Former President George W. Bush penned an impassioned op-ed in defense an AIDS-relief initiative that he founded during his presidency. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has saved over 12 million lives in Africa — yet it faces a $300 budget cut thanks to the cruelty of the Trump administration.
Bush, who was one of the least popular presidents ever when leaving office and whose foreign policy choices were questionable to say the least, managed to school current bad excuse for a president Donald Trump on humanity and humility.
Explaining why he founded the program and why he continues to engage in charity efforts, Bush wrote in The Washington Post:
When we confront suffering — when we save lives — we breathe hope into devastated populations, strengthen and stabilize society, and make our country and the world safer.
He then went on to detail his and former First Lady Laura Bush’s work with PEPFAR:
Since leaving the White House, Laura and I have been heartbroken to learn that because women with HIV are more likely to have cervical cancer, people who had been saved from AIDS were needlessly dying from another treatable, preventable disease. So at the Bush Institute, we formed this global public-private partnership to fight women’s cancers.
Bush explained that thanks to a program called Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, hundreds of thousands of women have been screened for cervical cancer, and tens of thousands for breast cancer over the past six years. The program has also vaccinated almost 120, 000 girls against the HPV virus, which can lead to cervical and other cancers, and trained over a thousand health care workers. That’s hardly a program that “doesn’t work.”
Critical to this effort is our Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partner, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). My administration launched PEPFAR in 2003 to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic that threatened to wipe out an entire generation on the continent of Africa. Nearly 15 years later, the program has achieved remarkable results in the fight against disease. Today, because of the commitment of many foreign governments, investments by partners, the resilience of the African people and the generosity of the American people, nearly 12 million lives have been saved. And nearly 2 million babies have been born HIV-free to infected mothers.