Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates opened up about a recent conversation — and a job offer — he had with President Donald Trump.
During a meeting between the two in the White House in March, they discussed many issues, including the fact that Trump has yet to appoint a science advisor for his administration. Since the Office of Science and Technology Policy was established in 1976, no other president has taken so long to fill the position to head it.
As it stands right now, 31-year-old Michael Kratsios, who holds a political science degree, is the acting head of the OSTP. While his age and credentials shouldn’t be dismissed entirely, one has to wonder whether an individual more attuned to the natural sciences (rather than the social sciences) would be a better person to lead.
Gates, while meeting with Trump, put forward the issue.
“I mentioned: ‘Hey, maybe we should have a science adviser,'” Gates recalled.
But the president didn’t have any ideas for who should become the adviser, other than the person sitting in front of him at that moment.
“He said: Did I want to be the science adviser?” Gates said.
“That’s not a good use of my time,” he said he responded.
The 40-minute conversation between the two touched upon other subjects, including discussing the possibility of a universal flu vaccine, which Gates said Trump was excited about. Still, it’s concerning that Trump hasn’t filled the position Gates talked about.
What’s even more troublesome is that Trump seemed more than willing to offer the position to Gates without a second thought. While the computer genius certainly would be qualified, more rigorous thought and input from Trump’s advisers would help in the vetting process — a lesson that Trump learned the hard way with his failed pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Ronny Jackson.
Gates himself said he isn’t sure whether Trump was genuine or just being nice.
“I didn’t put him to the test, whether that was a serious thing or not,” he said. “He probably himself didn’t know if he was serious. It was a friendly thing. He was being friendly.”
Friendly or not, Trump is behaving like an amateur president, throwing out ideas without weighing the consequences of his choices. The position needs to be filled as soon as possible, but also with a person that Trump and his team have given true consideration toward.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Denis Balibouse/Reuters