Bill Gates suggested Tuesday that there was a bit in common between how President-elect Donald Trump and President John F. Kennedy communicated with the American people.
The billionaire philanthropist, who recently had a phone conversation with Trump to discuss clean energy and climate change, told CNBC that “there can be a very upbeat message” about a Trump administration.
“You know, a lot of his message has been about things where he sees things not as good as he’d like,” he said.
The Microsoft cofounder and Forbes-designated richest person in the world continued: “But in the same way that President Kennedy talked about the space mission and got the country behind that — I think that whether it’s education or stopping epidemics, other health breakthroughs, finishing polio, and in this energy space — there can be a very upbeat message that his administration is going to organize things, get rid of regulation barriers, and have American leadership through innovation be on of the things that he gets behind.”
Gates, who was scheduled to meet with Trump in person later Tuesday at Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan, said he thought there was “a lot of fascination” in identifying which “new directions” Trump would take the country in.
He added that Trump was not elected “so much for specific policies” but because voters wanted “the kind of leadership” he presented.
“So he has a lot of flexibility on which issues he really goes after,” Gates said. “And so that’s why I think a dialogue now, you know, what are the positive things for America that he’s thinking and who can help out with that?”
The entrepreneur recently launched a billion-dollar initiative seeking to eliminate greenhouse-gas emissions, which he discussed with Trump in the pair’s recent phone call. Gates told Bloomberg on Monday that the two discussed medicine and education in addition to energy.
Speaking about trade, Gates told CNBC he didn’t think “it’d be a good deal” to have US-China trade relations “really fall apart.”
“They won’t want the lose-lose that you would get if you start to get large tariff walls,” Gates said, adding: “The president-elect is very sophisticated, you know. I hope he’s thought through how he’s going to get some adjustments there without that typical sort of tariff tit-for-tat.”