Bono, best known as the front-man for the rock band U2, thanked Congress for standing firm on funding for HIV/AIDS programs, CNBC is reporting. While Bono was first recognized as a musician, he has become very politically active over the years — and particularly has a heart for the HIV/AIDS crisis. He created the (RED) foundation in 2006 to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in eight different African countries. In a new interview, he praised Congress for having “so far turned down this president’s request to cut AIDS funding — right and left in lockstep together on this.” In the past, Donald Trump has proposed cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from programs assisting people with HIV/AIDS, both in the United States and around the world. When Bono was asked what he would say to Congress if he could, his response was simple.
“Thank you for your leadership,” he said.
He also credits leadership as the reason why the fight to end HIV/AIDS worldwide is seeing so much progress — the number of yearly infections has fallen by almost half since 1996, and the number of deaths attributed to the auto-immune diseases has also halved since 2004. Out of the 37 million people in the world who have been diagnosed with this disease, almost 22 million of them are able to receive anti-retroviral therapy, the most effective treatment deployed thus far. Bono said that this is thanks to “incredible leadership from around the world.”
Bono is himself a leading philanthropist, having raised $68 million via two auctions which he held in 2008 and 2013. Now, Bono is working on his next sale, where artwork and items made by many prominent artists and designers will be auctioned off. The theme of the items sold will be “light,” and there are big names on-board for the auction — such as Ai Weiwei, Jeff Koons, Yinka Shonibare, and Sean Scully. In addition, the public will get to bid on shoes by Christian Louboutin, a coffee table by the late Zaha Hadid, and a ring carved from a whole diamond — created by Apple design chief Jony Ive and industrial designer Marc Newson.
The proceeds from this event won’t just go into fighting AIDS, but will be distributed to other important causes as well. The money raised will be donated to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — as well as the Rebuild Foundation, which works with disadvantaged communities in Chicago. The creator of the Rebuild Foundation, Theaster Gates, is one of the curators of the event. Joining Gates will be David Adjaye, who designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Artworks in the auction will be exhibited by Gagosian at the Moore Building in Miami, from December 1 to December 7. They will be sold in a live auction on December 5, and in an online sale that will be open for bidding from November 12 to December 7.
As for Trump’s proposal to cut foreign aid funding surrounding HIV/AIDS, Bono is maintaining the position that this is the “dumbest moment ever,” on the cusp of seeing such “momentum” in solving this worldwide problem.