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 influenza vaccines with the president, something which required he quell Trump's enthusiasm for universal human-animal influenza vaccines that don't exist.
Gates then recalled a conversation in which he suggested the president fill the long-vacant post of White House science advisor.
“I mentioned, 'Hey, maybe we should have a science advisor'”, Gates is quoted as saying, and “He said: Did I want to be the science advisor?”
Without explaining his reasons, Gates told Statnews he said such a role is “not a good use of my time”.
The Microsoft founder's activities in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation mean he has plenty of exposure to the intellectually-taxing disciplines of climate and infection disease science. But he is not an actual scientist, although similar lacks of qualifications have not been seen as a barrier to other Trump administration appointments.
Gates' preference to stick to his own pursuits is, perhaps, regrettable now that the idea of a Silicon Valley-sourced science advisor has occurred to Trump. 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)? Or Juicero founder Doug Evans, who's decided modern water treatment is evil and spruiks untreated water?
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? ®