- In his annual letter, Bill Gates writes that President Donald Trump’s “America First” worldview concerns him.
- He says Trump’s proposed cuts to foreign aid would hurt the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s efforts to fight diseases abroad before they become pandemics.
- Melinda Gates adds that she wishes Trump would treat all people, especially women, with more respect.
In the latest annual letter about their charitable work, released Tuesday, Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda (who’s also the cofounder of their foundation), answered 10 frequently asked questions.
These questions delved into a range of topics, including education, climate change, and the pair’s extensive philanthropic efforts through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In the letter, Bill Gates said he had received more questions in the past year related to President Donald Trump than all other topics in the letter combined. Specifically, he answered the question, “How are President Trump’s policies affecting your foundation’s work?”
He wrote that Trump’s proposed cuts to foreign aid would impede the foundation’s efforts toward fighting poverty, illness, and hunger abroad.
“These efforts save lives. They also create US jobs,” Gates wrote. “And they make Americans more secure by making poor countries more stable and stopping disease outbreaks before they become pandemics. The world is not a safer place when more people are sick or hungry.”
Gates said that more broadly, Trump’s “America First” worldview concerned him.
“It’s not that the United States shouldn’t look out for its people,” he wrote. “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. Even if we measured everything the government did only by how much it helped American citizens, global engagement would still be a smart investment.”
The Trump administration’s proposed 2019 budget includes a 29% slash ($US17 billion) in spending for the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development. The proposal calls for increasing military spending and maintaining foreign-aid levels for only one country, Israel.
In 2017, foreign aid received bilateral support in Congress.
Gates has met with Trump and his team, he wrote, “because if the US cuts back on its investment abroad, people in other countries will die, and Americans will be worse off.”
Melinda Gates added that she wished Trump would treat all people, especially women, with more respect and “model American values in the world.”
“Equality is an important national principle,” she wrote. “The sanctity of each individual, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender, is part of our country’s spirit. The president has a responsibility to set a good example and empower all Americans through his statements and his policies.”