Bill Gates is making the rounds to promote his new $1 billion venture fund for cutting-edge energy technologies, and one of the people who apparently wanted to hear more is President-elect Donald Trump.
The Microsoft co-founder met with Trump in New York today, and afterward, Gates stopped in the lobby of Trump Tower to share some of what they discussed.
“We had a good conversation about innovation — how it can help in health, education, impact of foreign aid and energy,” Gates said. “A wide-ranging conversation about the power of innovation.”
Earlier Tuesday, Gates gave a lengthy interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (below), in which he talked more about his venture fund and Trump, including how Trump has the opportunity to be like former President John F. Kennedy when it comes to American leadership.
CNBC broke its interview into several stories. Here are some of the highlights of what Gates had to say:
- Opportunity to be like JFK: “In the same way President Kennedy talked about the space mission and got the country behind that. … I think whether it’s education or stopping epidemics … [or] in this energy space, there can be a very upbeat message that [Trump’s] administration [is] going to organize things, get rid of regulatory barriers, and have American leadership through innovation.”
- Trump likes a ‘good deal’: Gates said he’s prepared to lobby Trump on making sure America is on the forefront of energy research and development. “This administration likes a good deal. It’s not a huge part of the budget and yet it can help the economy just like shale gas has.”
- Stocks are expensive: As the Dow nears 20,000 in the wake of Trump’s victory, Gates said, “Certainly stocks are expensive. … When do we go back to normal in terms of interest rates [and] multiples, there would be a lot of adjustment there. Stocks are higher because of the interest rate environment.”
- No trade war with China: “I feel sure that he and the team he brings in around them, even as they tune things, they won’t want the ‘lose-lose’ that you would get if you start to get large tariff walls.”
Watch the full CNBC interview here:
Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund, which was formally announced on Monday, will feature the billionaire philanthropist as its chairman, and boasts other technology industry leaders among its board and investors.
“I am honored to work along with these investors to build on the powerful foundation of public investment in basic research,” Gates said Monday. “Our goal is to build companies that will help deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable, and emissions-free energy to the world.”
Gates told CNBC today that with the right innovations, “clean energy is actually cheaper than dirty energy” and that “innovation is the key to solving this problem.”
Meanwhile, President Obama also got in on the act of taking notice of Gates’ initiative. Obama tweeted at Gates on Monday, saying that working toward clean energy was a “smart investment” that is “good for the planet.” Gates replied to the president, thanking him for his support.
.@POTUS Thank you for your support. More affordable, reliable energy means better lives and stronger economies.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) December 13, 2016