Bill Gates, philanthropist and Microsoft founder, criticized the Trump administration’s push to reduce the U.S.’s $30 billion foreign aid budget — and praised the idea of privacy regulations on big tech as well.
“Fortunately the Congress took that proposal [to cut the USAID budget], which would have meant cutting people off from those HIV medicines, and they decided to maintain the foreign aid levels,” Gates told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace in an interview that aired Sunday morning.
The interview with Gates took place on Tuesday at the U.S Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.
Gates also addressed the statement by his wife, Melinda Gates, that she was disappointed about the “deteriorating” U.S. leadership and “egregious things that have been said by this current administration.”
Bill Gates contended the president’s America First maxim does not preclude the country’s engagement in countries like Africa.
Instead, he argued that humanitarian efforts outside the U.S. fall within the broad definition of maximizing the nation’s benefit.
“Even in that narrow framework of, OK, I only care about what, how U.S. citizens do — even in that framework, these institutions, these alliances, these investments in innovation are overwhelmingly smart things to do,” he said. He was referencing efforts — including those connected with working on an HIV vaccine — to help stop the AIDS crisis in Africa and elsewhere.
On the issue of climate change, Gates predicted that for countries like Africa — which are “completely dependent on the rain coming” — climate change presents a “threat to … survival.”
He also predicted “millions of deaths because of climate change between now and the end of the century.” He said a significant portion of that count will be in “very, very poor countries, because of the subsistence farming.”
He explained that in Africa in the past, for example, failed harvests occur about once every 12 years.
With climate change, Gates predicted the failed harvest rate will be closer to one in four.