Asked about a conversation he had on the phone Tuesday with President-elect Donald Trump, Bill Gates seemed intent on striking an optimistic tone.
Gates acknowledged in an interview with CNBC that most of Trump’s message, as a candidate and now President-elect, “has been about things where he sees things not as good as he’d like.” But he said he believes Trump has a chance to focus his administration on innovation, comparing him to President John F. Kennedy in that regard.
“In the same way President Kennedy talked about the space mission and got the country behind that,” he said, “I think whether it’s education or stopping epidemics, other health breakthroughs, finishing polio, and in this energy space, there can be a very upbeat message that his administration is going to organize things, get rid of regulatory barriers, and have American leadership through innovation be one of the things that he gets behind.”
The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist told CNBC he was open to speaking more with Trump, who appears to feel the same way. According to a transition pool report, Gates was seen walking into Trump Tower at noon on Tuesday and did not take questions from reporters.
Still, Gates’ hope for a new era of deregulated technological innovation under Trump may be wishful thinking.
“We’re losing a lot of people because of the Internet,” Trump said in December of last year. “We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way.”