For the tenth edition of the Gates Foundation’s annual letter, billionaire couple Bill and Melinda Gates have taken a different approach—tackling the top ten questions questions they are frequently asked.
While this year’s edition maintains the optimism and candor of letters past, the couple hopes that the format of and information provided in their 2018 letter will allow readers to be “just as optimistic” as they are.
The questions range from the personal, such as, “Are you imposing your values on other cultures?” to the political: “What do you have to show for the billions you’ve spent on U.S. education?”
But there’s one question that the couple is asked more often than the nine others combined: “How are President Trump’s policies affecting your work?”
The effect of the president’s policies is widespread, Bill Gates says. The billionaire says he’s concerned with Trump’s “America First worldview,” which has included significant proposed cuts to foreign aid. Gates explains that the U.S. has been a “leader in the fight against disease and poverty abroad” for decades—an effort which not only saves lives, but also creates jobs and makes Americans safer. Cutting back investments abroad will lead to people in other countries dying, and it’ll leave Americans “worse off,” he writes.
For her part, Melinda Gates asserts that one of the duties of the president is “to role model American values in the world.” She asks Trump—without mentioning him by name—to “treat people, and especially women, with more respect when he speaks and tweets.”
“Equality is an important national principle,” she adds.
Melinda Gates also highlights Trump’s domestic role; how his administration and Congress can determine whether young people are able to get a college education, something that she says “should be a pathway to prosperity for all Americans.”
She calls on the government to continue to fund student aid programs for low-income students, while making the application process simpler.
“The futures of millions of young Americans are on the line,” she writes.
Read the rest of the questions and answers and submit your own here.