In true Trumpian fashion, the offer wasn’t particularly well thought-out. In an interview with Stat, Gates described a 40-minute long meeting he recently had with Trump. Gates mentioned that perhaps Trump should appoint someone to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In reply, Trump asked if Gates wanted the position.
“That’s not a good use of my time,” Gates says he told the president.
Gates spends much of his time with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which funds developments that solve global problems such as climate change, child health, and infectious diseases.
Gates also has some fundamental differences with the way the president leads and views the world.
“The America First worldview concerns me,” Gates explains in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation annual letter. “It’s not that the United States shouldn’t look out for its people. The question is how best to do that. My view is that engaging with the world has proven over time to benefit everyone, including Americans, more than withdrawing does.”
Trump’s statements and policies have also been notoriously anti-science. His administration has rolled back Obama-era environmental and climate-change protections and has pushed to cut back funding of scientific and environmental-related endeavors.
Still, the meeting may have produced some positive results. Gates urged the president to embrace American innovation. What if, for example, Gates said, a universal flu vaccine was developed with your support? Trump reportedly liked this idea a lot and immediately called the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration to talk about it.
When you frame scientific development as something necessary in order to prevent pandemic diseases from affecting you (and your citizens, too), Trump will apparently listen.
H/T the Verge