Philanthropist Bill Gates met with Donald Trump in the White House, a week after the president’s budget revealed plans for deep cuts to programs that help the world’s poorest people.
“The president and Mr. Gates talked about their shared commitment to finding and stopping disease outbreaks around the world,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at the daily press briefing.
“The president particularly commended Mr. Gates for the Gates Foundation's work in global health and health security. Generous and innovative private philanthropy groups, like the Gates Foundation, are critical to our mission of finding the cures of tomorrow,” Spicer said.
The Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation “has a long history of working with officials on both sides of the aisle to pursue shared priorities like global health and development and domestic education,” said Sarah Logan, spokesperson for the foundation.
Ahead of the meeting, Logan said, “Bill will meet with members of the administration and congressional leaders to discuss the tremendous progress made to-date in these areas and the critical and indispensable role that the United States has played in achieving these gains,” according to Bloomberg Politics.
Trump’s proposed budget outlined planned cuts to foreign aid, health programs, education, hunger, and climate change. The Gates Foundation is generally apolitical but did release a statement by its CEO Sue Desmond-Hellman last week, saying it was “deeply troubled” by the cuts that would hit “the poorest people abroad and at home” the hardest.
The organization also said that a lot of its work in polio, which is now 99.99% eradicated because of vaccine programs funded by the Gates Foundation, would be undone due to these budget cuts.
“That puts lives at risk and it will ultimately be infinitely more expensive than making the short-term, preventative investments in developments right now,” Rob Nabors, the foundation’s director of US policy, advocacy, and communications, said last week.
The Gates Foundation recently released an open letter which chronicled some of the recent wins in the area it works in:
— 122 million children’s lives saved since 1990
— 86% of children worldwide have been vaccinated
— 300 million women in the developing world are using modern contraception.
— 75 million are in self-help groups in India so they can share knowledge.