Melinda Gates might not be a teacher, but that doesn’t mean she’s not giving out grades — and she’s giving Donald Trump a D-. Gates, the co-founder of the Gates Foundation with her husband Bill Gates, said that she’d give President Trump and his whole administration a failing grade in an interview with Politico's "Women Rule" series on Thursday.
Gates said the reason for the almost-failing grade is quite simple. "We need leadership at the national level. We lost two months... in terms of our national response. We have governors who are stepping up, luckily, but now we have 50 different home-grown state solutions instead of a national response,” Gates said.
In Gates' assessment, the administration is simply not putting forth enough money to protect and support workers. During the interview, she mentioned that a new congressional stimulus bill should provide even more money to protect workers who are experiencing devastating financial effects and other issues because of the pandemic.
According to Gates, the next stimulus bill passed by the government must prioritize paid sick days and leave time for employees working on the frontline, in addition to more money for individual people. Gates went on to compare the Trump administration's response to that of other companies — who so happen to be run by women leaders — and how they've effectively mitigated the pandemic.
“You know, if we were doing the things that the exemplar countries are doing, like Germany, we would be testing," she said, adding, "We would be testing first healthcare workers and then the most vulnerable. And we'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." However, as Gates mentioned, the country is still incredibly behind in terms of testing.
Local governments report that most people in general are still not able to access testing — and it’s not much different for many healthcare workers who are on the frontlines every day, still unable to get tests or the necessary protection and pay they need and deserve. "We have a lack of coordinated effort. That's just the truth across the United States,” Gates said.
The government’s response has led to many needless deaths of people that could have easily protected, Gates added, mentioning that it’s primarily and disproportionately affecting people of color who live in places where there’s less access to health care. According to her assessment, ignoring communities that are more marginalized and at risk will only increase the likelihood of subsequent waves of the virus.
That’s why the Gates Foundation has donated upwards of $300 million to help fight COVID-19. “In order to beat COVID-19, the world needs more than great science. It needs great humanity, the commitment to help people beat this virus no matter where they live. This effort will help us do that,” Gates said of her and her husband’s monetary commitment in a press release this week.
Though many argue that private companies shouldn’t be responsible for economic bailouts, Gates is committed to trying to patch up the inconsistencies in the governments’ approach, and prevent more harm — which she says the government could have avoided in the first place if it had responded sooner.