Now that he’s the President-elect of the United States, Donald Trump has entertained a seemingly endless array of allies, potential cabinet members and well-wishers while his transition team prepares for the upcoming White House move. Thus far, the list includes everyone from former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina to rapper Kanye West, but it was Microsoft executive turned billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates’ recent climate change-themed telephone conversation with Trump that’s turning heads over at CNBC. Not so much because of the “climate change” part, per se, but for what Gates relayed on Tuesday morning.
“A lot of his message has been about things where he sees things not as good as he’d like,” Gates said on Squawk Box. “But in the same way that President Kennedy talked about the space mission and got the country behind that, I think 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 regulatory barriers, and have American leadership through innovation be one of the things that he gets behind.”
Gates stressed how the meat of his conversation with Trump concerned innovation, and that the president-elect was “interested in listening.” Whether or not the reality of his comparison between Trump and President John F. Kennedy plays out during the next fours years remains to be seen. After all, it was Kennedy who told a crowd gathered at Rice University in 1962 that, as Americans, “[We’re choosing] to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
Trump, on the other hand, once told an audience he “could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”