Presented By
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton follows the casket during funeral and burial services for former first lady Nancy Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on March 11, 2016 in Simi Valley, Calif.
David McNew—2016 Getty Images

Hillary Clinton apologized Friday for praising Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s work to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS on the day of the former first lady’s funeral.

“While the Reagans were strong advocates for stem cell research and finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, I misspoke about their record on HIV and AIDS,” Clinton said on Twitter. “For that, I’m sorry.”

Clinton had previously said in an interview that the Reagans deserved credit for starting a “national conversation” on AIDS. In reality, the Reagan administration did not address the issue until years after the AIDS became a national epidemic and killed thousands of people—primarily gay men.

Although some historians have suggested that Nancy Reagan may have been a relatively progressive voice in her husband’s administration on HIV/AIDS, some activists feel the Reagans were complicit in the scale of the crisis. Columnist and podcaster Dan Savage, a prominent champion of gay rights and a Clinton supporter, wrote in an blog that “there are no words for the pain Clinton’s remarks have dredged up.”

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Justin Worland at

You May Also Like