Tech billionaire-turned-philanthropist Bill Gates spoke by telephone with President-elect Donald Trump and later met with him at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Dec. 13. Gates reportedly discussed innovation with Trump.
“A lot of his message has been about … where he sees things not as good as he’d like,” Gates said of Trump, reports CNBC.
“But in the same way President [John F.] 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,” Gates added.
Gates, who founded and runs the multibillion dollar Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife, was not a public Trump supporter before the election, but stated that he would “approach any administration with a positive open mind,” according to the Independent.
Gates’ meeting with Trump comes just days after the launch of the billion-dollar Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a fund started by Gates to invest in scientific innovation, reports Forbes.
The fund would invest in “scientific breakthroughs that have the potential to deliver cheap and reliable clean energy to the world,” Gates noted in a blog post. “We need affordable and reliable energy that doesn’t emit greenhouse gas to power the future — and to get it, we need a different model for investing in good ideas and moving them from the lab to the market.”
Trump, meanwhile, has been vocally hostile to climate change claims, and campaigned on the idea of renewing a national commitment to coal energy.
“On energy, we will pursue energy independence and cancel the job-killing restrictions on the production of shale energy, oil, natural gas and clean coal, and we’re gonna put the miners of Ohio back to work,” Trump told a crowd in Cincinnati, Ohio, during a December rally, reports NPR.
“The shale energy revolution will unleash massive wealth for America,” Trump told a meeting of energy industry executives in September, reports The New York Times. “And we will end the war on coal and the war on miners.”
Sources: CNBC, Independent, Forbes, NPR, The New York Times / Photo credit: OnInnovation/Flickr