In a confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Senator Dianne Feinstein grilled Kenneth Lee, a Trump judicial nomination for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, about 1994 college writings in which he said that “9 out of 10 people with AIDS are gay or drug users.”
Lee “said his writings were a ‘misguided attempt’ to support the Reagan administration’s policy on HIV,” NBC News reports.
Said Lee: “I absolutely would not write that today. I truly regret writing that. Frankly as an 18 year old I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know science. I was parroting something. Looking at that now, 26 years later, I am just embarrassed by it…Over the years you gain more empathy…different people you meet as well. I personally know someone living with that disease…thinking about him read something I wrote as an 18-year-old is just mortifying, frankly.”
Lee responded “absolutely not” when asked by Senator Richard Blumenthal, in reference to another piece of writing, “Do you think that discrimination or oppression against LGBTQ people is merely a ‘Marxist paradigm?’”
NBC News adds: ‘In a 1994 article titled “Gay Office Opens,” Lee opposed the opening of an LGBTQ resource center on campus, saying it was not necessary because the school was already funding LGBTQ groups. He called the decision to open the office “more political than anything” and said that it was to appease “militant” student activists who had been denied a gay dorm. In another article from 1994, he bashed AIDS education posters in the cafeteria as “propaganda nearly as pernicious to your health as the food,” while declaring that “personal responsibility” — in lieu of hopelessly placing “our faith on a vaccine” — was needed to solve the HIV epidemic. He also wrote “homosexuals are generally more promiscuous than heterosexuals” and “to avoid AIDS, one has to only abstain from drug-use and promiscuity. So simple, yet so hard to grasp.”’
A vote on Lee’s confirmation has yet to be scheduled.