President Donald Trump on Friday said
that he wasn't involved in the decision to ease the ban on gay and
bisexual men donating blood.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
announced the new policy on Thursday.
“No, I didn't know anything about
that,” Trump told reporters during the White House's daily briefing
on coronavirus. “That was done by the FDA. Very capable people at
The FDA in 1983 adopted a lifetime ban
on blood donations from men who have sex with men in response to the
AIDS crisis. In 2015, the agency relaxed the ban, allowing gay and
bisexual men to donate blood after having abstained from sexual
contact for 12 months.
The new policy announced Thursday will
shorten the deferral period from 12 months to 3.
The FDA was facing increasing calls to
lift the blood ban as the national stockpile of blood swindled amid
the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has forced the closure of thousands
of blood drives. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has called on
Americans to donate blood amid the national emergency.
had called on the FDA to lift the blood ban, said that Trump had
squandered an opportunity to stand with the LGBT community.
“The inclusion of this issue in such
a prominent venue is a signal to the FDA that the LGBTQ community
will not stop fighting this ban until all of us can donate blood
without restrictions,” a GLAAD spokesperson told the
Blade. “Trump could have used this press conference to
stand with LGBTQ Americans as well as the leading medical and
scientific experts who are now calling on the FDA to end the three
month deferral. However, given his poor track record on LGBTQ issues
and listening to science, his non-response was disappointing but not
In recent months, representatives and
senators had called on the FDA to update its policy.
Ocasio-Cortez, Carolyn Maloney call for end to ban on gay men