The White House posted Trump’s public schedule Wednesday evening. It includes a 3:30 p.m. ET meeting with Gates inside the Oval Office. The discussion will be closed to press, but in an interview with Politico on Thursday morning Gates shared some of what’s on his mind: Namely, the importance of foreign aid.
“I don’t agree with the America First rhetoric,” said Gates, stressing why it’s imperative for the U.S. to send dollars abroad. “Americans don’t want to have pandemics, and Americans don’t want to have to send soldiers to restore stability in Africa” Gates also plans to talk about the importance of supporting scientific research, noting that “the world benefits immensely” when Congress allocates money so that private sector and scientific community can innovate. (Editor’s note: This post has been updated).
We’ve reached out to Gates’ spokespeople to learn more about the meeting and will update this story when we hear back.
This isn’t Trump’s first meeting with Gates, currently the second richest person in the world with a net worth of $90 billion. The two met in December 2016, just after Trump was elected, at Trump Tower in New York City.
In an interview with GeekWire three months later, Gates shared new details about that conversation. He said he stressed the importance of U.S. support for scientific research in areas including vaccines, education, and energy. He encouraged Trump to get behind an innovation agenda to spark breakthroughs in these areas, akin to a modern-day moonshot.
“I don’t know if that will happen, but I wanted to get that in front of him,” Gates said.
Gates and Trump also met in March 2017 at the White House. At that meeting, Gates told Trump and Congressional leaders that proposed cuts in U.S. foreign aid and funding to global health programs “could put millions of lives at risk,” according to a statement by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In September, the foundation released a detailed report analyzing the impact of potential cuts to foreign aid spending.
The foundation also included the president in its annual letter published last month. Gates wrote that questions about the U.S. leader and the effect of his policies come up “more often than all the other topics in this letter combined.”
The letter cites Trump’s proposed cuts to foreign aid, his “America First” worldview, his lack of respect for women and others, and his shortcomings as a role model.
“Although we disagree with this administration more than the others we’ve met with,” Gates writes, “we believe it’s important to work together whenever possible.”
This past January, Melinda Gates denounced Trump’s comments about immigration after he reportedly asked why so many “people from shithole countries” were allowed into the U.S. during a meeting.