President Donald Trump offered Microsoft founder Bill Gates a job in the White House last month, Gates revealed in an interview with STAT News.
Gates, now a philanthropist, met with Trump for 40 minutes in March, where – in addition to having "the longest conversation about universal flu vaccine that the president's ever had" – Trump also offered to make Gates his official science adviser.
The position is currently open after John Holdren, the last head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, resigned at the end of former President Barack Obama's term.
"I mentioned: 'Hey, maybe we should have a science adviser,'" Gates recalled. "He said: Did I want to be the science adviser?"
But Gates said he told Trump: "That's not a good use of my time."
He added, "I didn't put him to the test, whether that was a serious thing or not. He probably himself didn't know if he was serious. It was a friendly thing. He was being friendly."
The Gates Foundation is currently offering $12 million for projects that would help develop a universal flu vaccine, and Gates said Trump will likely hear from other sources about the importance of preventing pandemics.
"There will have to be a variety of voices that come back to him and say: 'Hey, you may have heard of this topic, here's a plan that's concrete and sort of fits within the resources we have,'" Gates said. "So, the action item is very much on me or the community who care about these things to talk to federal officials, both defense and non-defense."
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