So far not much has leaked out from the (second) meeting between Bill Gates and Donald Trump on Monday, apart from an ultra-short announcement by White House spokesman Sean Spicer who said the two spoke about their “shared commitment to finding and stopping disease outbreaks around the world” and a statement by Sarah Logan, a spokeswoman for the foundation, which diplomatically mentioned that the organization “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.”
Let’s take that last bit literally perhaps.
Maybe, just maybe, Bill Gates went to see Donald Trump to engage in a bit of “domestic education“ himself ? In this case, teaching the new US President about how the world is actually changing for the better, and how foreign aid contributes to that (and helps America in the process). True, not everybody agrees with this rose-colored view of the Gates Foundation, but let’s for once step into the giant innovator shoes of Bill and try to imagine how he would teach Trump about the many blessings of foreign aid in a world in turmoil.
The conversation between the two men might have gone as follows:
(Bill) Hi, Donald, how are you? ( exchanging billionaire grins and even an awkward handshake )
(Trump ) (quickly checking out how big Gates’ hands are ) Doing great, Bill, thanks. Just been watching American football on Fox for another 6 hours, and spent a lovely time playing golf in Mar-a-Lago over the weekend. Being US president is just fantastic. Love it !
(Bill) ( concerned teacher’s voice now) Are you sure that’s the appropriate thing to do, Donald, watching so much tv on a random day? Does this empower you enough for your huge responsibilities as a president, not to mention setting a good example for the American kids on lifelong learning? (suddenly getting one of his trademark innovative ideas) Maybe, if you had to answer some questions after each tv show you watch, and you get a good score, the Gates Foundation could fund a Trump building in a developing country? You know, at the Gates Foundation, we like to pay for results and high performance. We could call it “Trumpaid”, or if you insist ‘America First’ aid ! (enthusiastic now)
(Trump) (half-distracted as a hot White House staffer is just passing by) Maybe, Bill, maybe. But what’s in it for me? And more importantly, for America? After all, Trump Towers in developing countries will need to be made by the Chinese as they’re far more cost-effective than us Americans. And unlike with the Russians, I don’t get along very well with Xi Jinping et al. ( deep sigh)
(Gates) No worries there, Donald. I have excellent relations with the Chinese. Leave that to me. We can even use this “Trumpaid” in a nice bargain with the Chinese. They build these Trump towers for you, in Ethiopia, Rwanda, … you name it, with Gates Foundation money, and in return the Chinese will cough up all the money for the Climate Fund. That’s what we call a “win-win” at the Gates Foundation.
(Trump) (not fully convinced, as he doesn’t like much the concept of a ‘win-win’) But what if I really wanted the Chinese to lose (and America win)? (pumping his fist now, pulpit-style)
(Gates) (in full teacher mode now, finally noticing progress of his pupil ) Now we’re getting somewhere, Donald! After the deal, you can just let NATO bomb these Trump towers – I bet they make for a great shiny target, and you have to spend your extra 50 billion for defense anyhow. So better spend it on something useful then. See it as shooting practice for our ‘America first’ missiles. The Chinese will be really pissed off – they don’t like it much when their big infrastructure projects are being demolished, and certainly not if the US army is responsible for that. So who knows, Donald – with ‘Trumpaid’ you might just kick off a big war with the Chinese? At the Gates foundation, we call that a ‘win-win-win’. Ever heard of the “3 D’s”, Donald – Development, Diplomacy and Defense?
(Trump – as an elderly person only hearing the last word and liking very much the sound of it) Duh, Bill, of course. Hell, didn’t know you were that smart. I can see how you got so filthy rich. Let’s go for it! But please, don’t hook me up with Angela on any of your fundraising conferences for aid! I just don’t like Germans, can’t help it.
(Bill) ( gently nodding, and also taking into account his pupil’s rather short attention span) That’s ok, Donald, that’s ok. I’m frequenting more than enough power breakfasts with the likes of Angela Merkel et al. You can just keep on watching tv. No need to go to Davos either. Who knows, you might just bump into the Chinese there.
Anyway, enough for now. Next time, I’ll tell you a bit more about pandemics, and how “Trumpaid” can also help avoid these (and how you can make tons of money in the process!).
Say hi to Melania and Ivanka for me, will you?
(Trump) Will do, Bill, will do! (getting ready for a Trump nap)