President Joe Biden’s reported pick to be ambassador to China repeatedly called for Bill Gates to be put in charge of the United States’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, even after the philanthropist said China should not be held accountable for its role in covering up the deadly crisis.
Nicholas Burns, an ambassador during the Clinton administration and George W. Bush’s presidency, tweeted multiple times in the early months of the pandemic that former President Donald Trump should make Gates the “Coronavirus Czar.” The Harvard University professor and presidential campaign adviser for Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued to make such a recommendation after Gates argued against holding China accountable for the pandemic, defended some of their response to the coronavirus, and disputed the idea that the World Health Organization had been improperly influenced by China.
Burns tweeted on April Fools Day 2020, “Bill Gates for COVID-19 National Coordinator. His clear plan for what we must now do is compelling. The public would trust him. He could help to unite our efforts with those of the world.”
He added: “Think about it @realDonaldTrump. Presidents have a long history of asking private citizens to take on big public jobs. @BillGates is the right person to become the CoronaVirus Czar.”
Burns shared a Washington Post opinion piece written by Gates from March 31, 2020, which said, “There’s no question the United States missed the opportunity to get ahead of the novel coronavirus. But the window for making important decisions hasn’t closed.”
Gates said three steps were necessary.
“First, we need a consistent nationwide approach to shutting down. Despite urging from public health experts, some states and counties haven’t shut down completely. In some states, beaches are still open; in others, restaurants still serve sit-down meals. This is a recipe for disaster. Because people can travel freely across state lines, so can the virus. The country’s leaders need to be clear: Shutdown anywhere means shutdown everywhere,” Gates wrote. “Second, the federal government needs to step up on testing. … Finally, we need a data-based approach to developing treatments and a vaccine… If we do everything right, we could have one in less than 18 months.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website states the organization’s recent $250 million commitment to assist with COVID-19 drugs and vaccines brought its “total contribution towards fighting the pandemic to $1.75 billion, and much of it has gone towards the production and procurement of crucial medical supplies.”
Gates lamented the Trump administration would withhold U.S. funding from the WHO, criticizing the move in an April 15, 2020, tweet: “Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. 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.”
Newly released emails earlier this week from Dr. Anthony Fauci show he and Gates were in communication. An email with the subject line “Connection Request per Bill Gates” was sent by Emilio Emini, a senior adviser at the Gates Foundation, who said he’d been told that Gates and Fauci had talked the day before, saying, “I’ve taken on the role of coordinating the foundation’s contributions to the global COVID vaccine efforts… Bill tells me that you will take on a central role in coordinating [the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority’s] funding to the ongoing efforts.”
Emini’s April 2, 2020, email added: “I see you on TV almost every day, and although you continue to have considerable energy, I am seriously worried about you. The nation and the world absolutely need your leadership.”
Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, replied the next day, saying, “As I had mentioned to Bill yesterday evening, I am enthusiastic about moving towards a collaborative and hopefully synergistic approach to COVID-19 on the part of NIAID/NIH, BARDA and the BMGF.”
Many touted Gates as having foresight about the coronavirus pandemic, in part because, during a Ted Talk in 2015, he predicted, “If anything kills over ten million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus, rather than a war … We’re not ready for the next epidemic.”
During a February appearance on the Veritasium YouTube channel, Gates asserted COVID-19 was natural in origin but warned of future “bioterrorism” and that “somebody who wants to cause damage could engineer a virus, and so that means the chance of running into this is more than just the naturally-caused epidemics like the current one.”
The intelligence community confirmed last week at least one of its 18 spy agencies is leaning toward the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis on COVID-19’s origins while two are leaning toward a natural origin, with the vast majority remaining undecided.
Gates caused controversy during an April 26, 2020, appearance on CNN when he was asked how he would respond to the charge that China covered up the coronavirus and misled the world.
“You know, China did a lot of things right at the beginning, like any country where a virus first shows up, they can look back and say they missed some things,” Gates said. “You know, some countries did respond very quickly and get their testing in place and they avoided the incredible economic pain. And it’s sad that even the U.S. which you would have expected to do this well did it particularly poorly. But it’s not time to talk about that… So that’s a distraction. I think there’s a lot of incorrect and unfair things said, but it’s not even time for that discussion.”
The Chinese Communist Party made use of the comments by Gates when Chen Weihua, an EU bureau chief and columnist at the Chinese state-run China Daily, tweeted a video of his remarks and claimed, “Bill Gates blasts Trump’s blame game on China as a distraction.”
A September report from the House GOP’s China Task Force concluded that “it is beyond doubt that the CCP actively engaged in a cover-up designed to obfuscate data, hide relevant public health information, and suppress doctors and journalists who attempted to warn the world” and that Chinese government malfeasance, combined with the WHO’s fumbling of the crisis, allowed the coronavirus outbreak to grow into a deadly pandemic.
Burns again called for Gates to receive a coronavirus leadership role in the government on May 22, 2020, tweeting, “Bill Gates for Coronavirus Czar. We need a leader who understands the science, business and is unafraid to tell the truth.”
This time, Burns shared a New York Times opinion piece titled, “Bill Gates Is the Most Interesting Man in the World,” which claimed, “Gates is everywhere these days, a lavender-sweatered Mister Rogers for the curious and quarantined. With the United States surrendering in the global war against a disease without borders, Gates has filled the void. The U.S. is isolated, pitied, scorned. Gates, by one measure, is the most admired man in the world.”
By the time Burns made his recommendation, the friendship between Gates and now-deceased and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein had been widely reported. The New York Times noted in 2019 that “Mr. Gates started the relationship after Mr. Epstein was convicted of sex crimes” and that “beginning in 2011, Mr. Gates met with Mr. Epstein on numerous occasions — including at least three times at Mr. Epstein’s palatial Manhattan townhouse, and at least once staying late into the night.”
“Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so,” a spokesperson for Gates said at the time.
Gates and his wife, Melinda French Gates, announced their divorce in early May, and the New York Times reported “when the relationship between Mr. Gates and Mr. Epstein burst into public view, Ms. French Gates was unhappy,” and “she hired divorce lawyers, setting in motion a process that culminated this month with the announcement that their marriage was ending.”
Gates initially opposed lifting vaccine patent protections this year, even meeting with Biden’s U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to protect the patents. However, the Biden administration backed the waiving of certain intellectual property rules, so Gates backtracked.