Melinda Gates Gives Trump a ‘D-Minus’ for Coronavirus Response: ‘We Need Leadership’

In this Feb. 1, 2019, Melinda Gates speaks while being interviewed in Kirkland, Wash. Bill and Melinda Gates are pushing back against a new wave of criticism about whether billionaire philanthropy is a force for good. The couple, whose foundation has the largest endowment in the world, said they’re not …
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Melinda Gates, co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, harshly graded President Donald Trump’s response to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, giving his administration a  “D-minus.”

“We need leadership at the national level. We lost two months almost now in terms of our national response,” Gates said in a Thursday interview with Politico. Rather than have a national strategy, the United States is employing “50 different homegrown state solutions instead of a national response,” the philanthropist continued.

“You know, if we were doing the things that the exemplar countries are doing, like Germany, we would be testing,” she added. “We would be testing, first, health care workers and then the most vulnerable, and you’d be doing contact tracing. And we would be able to start thinking about slowly, slowly reopening places in society in safe and healthy ways, but we have a lack of a coordinated effort. That’s just the truth, across the United States.”

The White House issued a statement running counter to Gates’ remarks, saying President Trump has undertaken an “unprecedented approach“ to working with governors and local officials to combat the pandemic. 

“The ongoing response to this global pandemic has been about close coordination and partnerships with State and local governments,” said White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere. “The White House has been working with Governors and their teams since January on this whole-of-government response, including supply chains, testing, data-driven guidelines for social distancing, and now a responsible plan to open America again.”

This is not the first time that Gates has criticized the Trump administration during the pandemic. In April, the Gates Foundation co-chair said the president’s decision to halt U.S. funds for the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) “makes no sense, while announcing an additional $150 million in funding for coronavirus relief efforts, bringing her foundation’s total contribution to $250 million.

“I think it’s worth saying, we’ve been working with the W.H.O. for over 20 years as a foundation. And no institution is perfect, but it’s the global response that’s going to get us through this, and W.H.O. was created after World War II to deal with exactly these kinds of issues around the world. So halting funding right now, that just doesn’t make any sense,” she told ABC News anchor David Muir.

As Breitbart News reported, “The W.H.O. claimed in January that ‘preliminary investigations’ by China found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus in Wuhan. Further, the organization called on countries to keep borders open despite labeling the massive outbreak a global emergency.”

Bill Gates also criticized President Trump’s decision to freeze funding of the W.H.O., labeling the decision as “dangerous.”

“Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds,” Gates wrote on social media. “Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.”

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