In leaked video, Bill Gates candidly recounts surreal first meetings with President Trump


Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Bill Gates was unnerved by how much President Donald Trump knew about his daughter’s appearance the first time the two moguls met. The Microsoft co-founder tried to steer Trump away from pursuing an anti-vaccine agenda. The president’s proclivity for speaking in the third-person also struck Gates, according to his account of his first two meetings with Trump.

“When I walked in, his first sentence kinda threw me off,” Gates said in the leaked video. “He said, ‘Trump hears that you don’t like what Trump is doing.’ And I thought, ‘Wow. But you’re Trump.’ So I didn’t know if the third-party form was what was expected. Gates says that Gates knows you’re not doing things right.”

“Both times, he wanted to know if there was a different between HIV and HPV,” recalled Gates, referring to the virus that causes AIDS, and to a different sexually transmitted virus, human papillomavirus. “So I was able to explain that those are rarely confused with each other.”

Gates talked about his first encounters with Trump during an internal meeting with employees at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Video of those stories was leaked to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.

He described two encounters with the president at Trump Tower. Trump had previously met Gates’ 22-year-old daughter Jennifer at a horse-related event in Florida. According to the tale, Trump mingled at the event, then was driven away so he could “make a grand entrance” by helicopter.

“When I first talked to him it was actually kind of scary how much he knew about my daughter’s appearance,” Gates told the Gates Foundation employees. “Melinda didn’t like that too well.”

GeekWire has reached out to the Gates Foundation and Gates representatives for comment. We will update this story if we hear back.

Gates said that he urged Trump to support innovation and technology during those meetings. He was more candid in the internal meeting with employees than he typically is when asked about Trump in interviews. In a discussion with GeekWire last year, Gates described one of the same meetings. He said he stressed the importance of U.S. support for scientific research in areas including vaccines, education, and energy.

“I don’t know if that will happen, but I wanted to get that in front of him,” Gates said.

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