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Citizenship

The 2 Things Bill Gates Told Trump During Their Meeting

Bill and Melinda Gates have spent $28 billion through their eponymous foundation on charitable causes, primarily on projects in developing countries like eradicating polio and preventing malaria.

But their commitments alone can’t end global problems like extreme poverty, so they often find themselves making the case for foreign aid to world leaders.

On Thursday, Bill Gates visited US President Donald Trump in the White House to argue against expected cuts to US foreign aid, according to CNN.

Take Action: Call on the State Department and HHS Department to #StoptheCuts and Protect Foreign Aid

In an interview with Politico earlier in the day, Gates laid out his approach for persuading Trump.

“I’ll take his framework and explain why things like health security and continued foreign aid, even in that narrow framework, where you give no credit for saving lives in Africa, kind of pure humanitarian things, even without that, this is money well spent,” he said in the interview.

Gates said he would emphasize two things to Trump.

First, how foreign aid has been a great investment for the country because it promotes national security, creates new trading partners, and improves the reputation of the US.

Today, 11 of the the country’s top 15 trading partners once received US foreign aid.

All across the US, states depend on foreign trade because they create products that are then sold overseas to other countries. As Ricardo Michel from USAID points out, “95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders.”

Read More: How to Talk About Foreign Aid Without Sounding Dumb

Foreign aid also helps to foster peaceful societies around the world by alleviating some of the causes of conflict such as extreme poverty and corruption, therefore increasing the security of the US.

Second, Gates said he would explain how foreign aid can stop epidemics from spreading.

“The preparedness we have for a pandemic, either a naturally caused pandemic or a bioterrorism, intention-caused pandemic, we don’t have the tools, the preparedness, the capacity to deal with that,” he said.

Read More: The Little-Known History of US Foreign Aid

“And yet the science is at a point where for a fairly small portion of that increase, say a few percent a year, you could do something quite miraculous in terms of health security,” he added.

The Trump administration is currently trying to slash the money allocated to foreign aid by nearly a third.

Read More: The Little-Known History of US Foreign Aid

But, as Gates points out, all the benefits of foreign aid are possible for less than 1% of the US budget.

“It’s hard for me to understand the notion that helping people that are poorer than we are is a bad thing,” he said in the interview. “It’s kind of in the Bible.”

Global Citizen campaigns on protecting and increasing US foreign aid and you can take action on this issue here.