back to article Bill Gates declined offer to serve as Donald Trump's science advisor

Bill Gates reportedly turned down an offer to serve as President Donald Trump's science advisor. The offer was first reported by health sector site Statnews, which interviewed the Microsoft founder and philanthropist about his public-health-related activities. During the discussion, Gates told Statnews he'd discussed …

  1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
  2. macjules Silver badge

    Right man for the job

    Since he does have a lot of experience with viral attacks and infections ..

  3. Blockchain commentard

    Trump wanted a science advisor. Gates' background is in running a software house. Not very scientific.

    Anyone would think Trump didn't understand what a science guy (or gal) does. I'd suggest he watch 'The Big Bang Theory' boxset.

    1. TheVogon

      "Gates' background is in running a software house. "

      Microsoft make hardware too and spend many billions on scientific R&D, it's not that far apart.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        If a requirement of being in government meant you had to know anything about the area you were responsible for then "Cabinet reshuffle" wouldnt be a thing.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          If a requirement of being in government meant you had to know anything about the area you were responsible for then "Cabinet reshuffle" wouldnt be a thing.

          A mere reshuffle would do nothing - the requirements could only mean an entirely new cabinet constructed with thought on effectiveness and planning rather than the usual nepotism, and better quality materials than the usual weak dull planks.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            I fear we are stuck with the weak dull planks , but i wish they could stick at a task for more than five minutes without fucking up and having to be moved on to another department , rather than sacked.

            I mean , whose gonna do that Javid fellas job now? theyre gonna have to train someone all over again ,

            no wait , theyll just get some dull plank in to make platitudes in the media while the head civil servant of that area actually tries to get the work done , even with each new plank at the top moving the goal posts all the time.

      2. sisk

        Microsoft make hardware too and spend many billions on scientific R&D, it's not that far apart.

        Running a company that employs a lot of scientists does not make one qualified to be a science adviser. At the end of the day Gates is a very intelligent businessman but also a college dropout. He does not have the qualifications for any sort of science based position.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd suggest he watches the clip on youtube of Big Bang Theory without the laughter track.

    3. Nick Kew

      Gates isn't a scientist. But I understand he is able to listen to scientists, and more open to science than Trump.

      He's also a hugely successful businessman, which seems to earn him Trump's respect.

      Combine those, and perhaps he'd be a good man for the job!

      1. annodomini2

        ...He's also a hugely successful businessman, which seems to earn him Trump's respect...

        Yes Gates is very financially successful, more so than Trump.

        I think this is more to do with having 'control' over someone with a higher net worth, than actually the right person for the job.

        You'd be surprised how much the 'upper echelons' of society can be childish and petty .

    4. Roger Ramjet

      BBT - There's far too many big words for Trump to comprehend.

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        Surely being made to watch a box set of the Big Bang Theory would violate the US constitution's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment?

  4. Oor Nonny-Muss

    the Microsoft founder and philanthropist

    Surely you missed "and sometime Kermit the Frog vocal imitator"

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Or perhaps White House Science Advisor Elon Musk could construct a suitable simulation to convince Donald he's destined to be on the first crewed mission to Mars, thus saving the world?

    Maybe a large bonus and our eternal gratitude if Musk could get Congress to go on the second crewed mission to Mars.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Congress would never agree to go. There are too many Flat-Earthers in there who know that Mars is just a wandering light in the sky and not really a planet and anyway if they were meant to fly to the stars then God would have given them wings, but He didn't, so take that, evolutionists!

      1. tfb Silver badge
        Boffin

        It worries me that there probably *are* lots of people who are, let's say, not convinced the Earth is not flat in congress: how did we get here?

        Serious question: how to flat Earth people explain the Sun being above the horizon (or just visible) for some people and not for others, which can't happen on a flat surface? Do they just think people far away from them who they can speak to on the phone are lying or something?

        1. ArrZarr
          Joke

          Their explanations generally rely upon some scientomagical effect that makes light bend, therefore making it appear that the sun has gone down somewhere earlier than somewhere else, but the bending light....Personally I prefer the Discworld explanation that light loses its sense of urgency when it interacts with strong magic fields, like the ones flat earthers produce.

          1. tfb Silver badge
            Joke

            Heh, so flat earth people also believe in General Relativity :-)

        2. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Flat Earth

          Serious question: how to flat Earth people explain the Sun being above the horizon (or just visible) for some people and not for others

          Apparently it's all a matter of perspective.

          1. ArrZarr
            Facepalm

            Re: Flat Earth

            Thanks for the link. I'm curious where they think the horizon comes from if the earth is flat...

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Flat Earth

              That word "think", I'm not sure it means what you think it means.

    2. onefang

      "if Musk could get Congress to go on the second crewed mission to Mars."

      So that would be the B-Ark then?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If he took the job his wage would be easy, $640k

    1. hammarbtyp

      If he took the job his wage would be easy, $640k

      Well that's enough for anyone. right?

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        It'd be enough for me.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Gates never said "640K should be enough"[0] ... But Steve Jobs once said "128K should be more than enough for home users" (at a Homebrew Computer Club meeting, when introducing the Mac for the first time, a few weeks before it was unveiled for the general public.)

        [0] The supposed "640K limit" was an IBM hardware limit, not a MS software limit. And it wasn't really 640K, it was more like 704K, if you knew what you were doing. I find it absolutely amazing that this piece of incorrect trivia is still being parroted as fact after all these years ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I know but truth is inconsequential when making a cheap quip.

      3. SouthernLogic

        He might need extended salary, and a salary manager to help him access it.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does Bill like 'his baby' now under new management?

      Oh look a Article about Bill gates, lets shoe horn yet another repetitive post in about Window 10, with the same tired quote.

      Remind me again how much money do MS make from advertising? Maybe, just maybe the up-sell is getting to get people to buy apps from the app store, buy O365 subscriptions, using Edge and therefore Bing and pay for One drive...y'know, the things that make them billions of dollar profit.

      Still be the complete fucktard that thinks they gave it away free (which of course it no longer is) to push ads (which I've never seen) generating fractions of pence per users.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Does Bill like 'his baby' now under new management?

        wow thats him told!

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Does Bill like 'his baby' now under new management?

        You missed out all the cash they make from the XBox (+game licensing +xbox live etc.), and Azure (which is making more money that Amazon or Google).

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: Does Bill like 'his baby' now under new management?

          he's making enough of his dividends and shares to do quite nicley and fund all the work of the foundation,

          I shouldnt think he's too fussed what SatNad and pals are upto, providing the money keeps flowing and the value keeps growing.

  8. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Well that would have added a new dimension

    to the BSOD.

  9. TRT Silver badge

    Well...

    It wouldn't be the first time Gates has taken on a trump challenge.

    I know, I know. Cheap joke based on someone's name. But someone's got to do it.

  10. SVV

    Trump and Gates

    Trump "The Republicans in Congress keep wanting to shut down the government. What should I do?"

    Gates : "Upgrade all government PCs to Windows 10"

  11. Frank N. Stein

    Elon Musk, so he can convince Trump to be on the first human trip to Mars, thus, saving the world from more of his nonsense. And while Yank idiots support Trump, I've yet to hear of anyone from the EU supporting Trump. >:-)

    1. I&I

      Surely nobody not-of-America would support “America First”? ...oh he did?

    2. CrazyOldCatMan

      I've yet to hear of anyone from the EU supporting Trump

      Nigel Farage? He's from the EU right?

      (I always found it mildly amusing that the arch-Euroskeptic was himself a descendent of European refugees..)

  12. SouthernLogic

    Bill is looking very old. Why even bother with Gov at this stage of his life.

    1. cambsukguy

      He's 62 and, having a still reasonable amount of hair, I think he looks, at most, 62.

      One thing I have noticed about white westerners that spend a lot of time in the poorest African countries, is that they get thinner, browner, and more wrinkly.

      But he looks better than most 60-ish year-olds I happen to know.

      Not that it matters of course.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        "He's 62 and, having a still reasonable amount of hair, I think he looks, at most, 62."

        I'm 5 years older than Bill, compared to me and most of my contempories he looks 15 to 20 years older.

        I would have thought by looks that he was at least mid to late 70s. One of my friends like me still has (mostly) dark brown hair, one is bald but looks younger than me the others are comparable, we all still indulge in various sports etc and none of us smoke, that is a skin ager.

        I don't who the 62s are that you know but they should look after themselves a bit more.

        1. Aladdin Sane

          It's because he's scrawny. Scrawny people age quicker. Thinning hair aside, us huskier folk look younger.

  13. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Thumb Up

    “not a good use of my time”

    Whatever else you might think of Bill Gates, he can come up with a great euphemism...

    1. David Austin

      In this case, “not a good use of my time” may be a euphemism, but I honestly believe it to be true;

      Like it or loath it, Bill's work at Microsoft changed the world.

      I genuinely believe his work at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is even more important, and will have even more impact in the long term (And eradicating polio is probably going to be more popular than Windows Me).

      1. onefang

        "Like it or loath it, Bill's work at Microsoft changed the world."

        But not for the better.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      WTF?

      "“not a good use of my time”"

      Well he's right.

      Imagine.

      You have a personal fortune in the 10s of $Bn.

      You want to spend your time explaining complex ideas (you might not fully understand) to some verbally incontinent, attention deficient Ahole with near total contempt for his employees*?

      Anyone smart enough to do the job is smart enough not to touch it with a barge pole. $Diety know what moron he'll actually get to fill it.

      *Fires people through Twitter, lips always flapping, lies often coming out.

      1. jake Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: "“not a good use of my time”"

        "lies often coming out"

        You, sir, just won the Golden Pint of Understatement. Dancing rodents.

  14. J27 Silver badge

    It's a shame Gates didn't follow that up with, "but you could hire my very competent scientist friend". Trump is so susceptible to cronyism he wouldn't be able to say no!

  15. sisk

    I don't think ANY of the men mentioned in this article would be qualified to be the White House science adviser. Gates was right to turn down the position, and of the three men mentioned towards the end of the article Musk - whom I quite like but whose idea of science is commendably lacking in considerations of what's actually feasible much of the time - is the closest to being qualified, but he's still no scientist. I know who would be on my personal short list for that role and, sadly, none of them are from Silicon Valley. In fact a couple of them aren't even from the US.

    One in particular - a British scientist who would be #1 or 2 on my list if we didn't have to consider nationality for White House positions - is a rather infamous YouTuber who would really piss off the radicals at both ends of the spectrum (bonus!) but who would be fantastic at the job. That's especially true with a President like Trump who needs to be told things in a blunt fashion by someone who's not easily intimidated.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The lengths people will go to get decent Windows support; Trump just wants Gates to fix a borked update on Melania's PC.

  17. Talamasca

    Matter / Anti-matter

    Gates tells people what they want / Trump tells people what they want to hear.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Matter / Anti-matter

      Speaking as a registered American Voter, I can state quite safely that Trump has very, very rarely told me anything that I wanted to hear.

      Speaking as a pseudo-normal human being, I categorically deny Gates has ever told me what I wanted ... at least not in any meaningful way.

  18. Rol Silver badge

    Science advisor to Trump v's Half-life of Carbon-11

    How short-lived would that post be?

    Within minutes of some worthy person taking up the office, they would be fired for attempting to burst Trump's balloon of ignorance.

  19. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "No man is so ignorant as one whose livelihood depends on his ignorance"

    As Upton Sinclair put it.

    And boy is Trump ignorant.

    And damm proud to be.

    Americans. This is what you (just about) elected.

    Isn't it time you sorted out that election system of yours?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: "No man is so ignorant as one whose livelihood depends on his ignorance"

      We're working on it, John. But give us a break, it's only been a couple hundred years. How's that monarchy thing coming along?

      1. ArrZarr

        Re: "No man is so ignorant as one whose livelihood depends on his ignorance"

        After due care and consideration going back a thousand years, we've taken the wise decision to kick the monarch back into the role of figurehead.

        This frees us up to elect honest and intelligent Ministers so they can govern the people freely, fairly and with integrity.

        To be fair, The Monarchy serves its purpose as a tourist attraction and the land they rent to Parliament returns way more money than the rent cost.

        1. onefang

          Re: "No man is so ignorant as one whose livelihood depends on his ignorance"

          "This frees us up to elect honest and intelligent Ministers so they can govern the people freely, fairly and with integrity."

          You should start doing that, it might help.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: "No man is so ignorant as one whose livelihood depends on his ignorance"

      > Isn't it time you sorted out that election system of yours?

      Yeah, we had a "choice" between Hillary and Trump. They both suck.

      What will REALLY take the cake:

      1. Trump runs for re-election.

      2. The Republican party LETS him

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "No man is so ignorant as one whose livelihood depends on his ignorance"

        "Yeah, we had a "choice" between Hillary and Trump. They both suck."

        A choice between getting kicked in the left nut or the right nut isn't much of a choice.

  20. 2Nick3
    Coat

    Missed opportunity?

    I have to wonder if Mr. Gates took the opportunity to suggest someone well suited to the role? You would think he could come up with 3-5 names pretty quickly.

    "Sorry, Mr. President, but I don't think I would be a good fit, all things told. But why don't you consider asking A or B, maybe C. I think any of them would be well suited to the role."

    I would hope Mr. Gates wouldn't have been as dismissive as the comments that are sure to follow.

  21. razorfishsl

    thank fuck for that.

  22. Jim84

    Thiel gives $1 million per year to the SENS Research Foundation

    “What if he were to ask Peter Thiel (who totally isn't “harvesting the blood of the young” but is keenly interested in anti-aging research)?”

    Peter Thiel donated $1 million to Trump’s election campaign, but seems to have had f all influence on Trump for his million dollars.

    The above quote is having a bit of a dig at Thiel implying that he is interested in anti aging research only for selfish reasons, and in fact may be impinging on the health of the young to further his own health. But an action can be in a persons self interest as well as that of the public.

    The point that Thiel and others make is that most health care spending is on people over 65, and if we could keep these people healthy and youthful it could lower health care costs and raise economic productivity a great deal.

    It’s very difficult to get the public and politicians to think about anti aging medicine as humans have psychological coping mechanisms that prevent them paying attention to seemingly inevitable and awful things like aging. This is sometimes called the “Pro Aging Trance” and usually results in people’s minds coming up with quick and often contradictory objections to quickly change the subject. Examples of these contradictory objections are “what about overpopulation?” and “anti aging would only be for the rich”.

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