Bill Gates Doesn’t See a Formal Role in Biden Administration
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, speaks a forum in Beijing. (Photographer: Takaaki Iwabu/Bloomberg)

Bill Gates Doesn’t See a Formal Role in Biden Administration

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Billionaire Bill Gates said he doesn’t expect to take on a formal role in Joe Biden’s administration, but his foundation will liaise with the incoming government on future infectious disease control.

“I talked with the president-elect about that,” the Microsoft Corp. founder and philanthropist said Sunday on the matter of preventing future pandemics. “I think our foundation will be part of that dialogue to make sure we don’t blow it again.”

When asked if he will serve any role in future task forces convened by Biden, Gates said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the president-elect’s team has picked “good people to play the official roles,” and “simply being in discussions with them” is the best way to contribute.

Gates has been critical of handling of the pandemic in the U.S., saying in August that it was “mind-blowing” the government hadn’t improved Covid-19 testing, and that the political atmosphere wasn’t constructive either.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Wednesday that it’s pledging an additional $250 million to fight Covid-19, bringing its total commitment to $1.75 billion. Some of the latest funding will be directed at delivering Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines in low- and middle-income countries.

Gates said he’s been talking with members of Congress about helping poor countries access vaccines, such as using “what would be well under 1%” of federal stimulus money to that end. He rejected the idea of vaccine nationalism and an “American First” approach directed by President Donald Trump.

“The extreme idea that everybody should die until we have the very last American vaccinated, that’s hardly an appropriate response,” Gates said. Additional vaccines expected to be approved in the coming months will be easier to scale up in manufacturing, he said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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