The White House has not had a science advisor since the end of the Obama administration, but President Donald Trump is apparently open to filling the role. In fact, Microsoft founder Bill Gates says he was offered the role.
It’s not clear whether or not Trump was serious, but Gates revealed the offer in an interview with health and medicine site Stat.
Gates, who these days chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife, visited Trump in the Oval Office in March. At some point in the discussion, Gates suggested: “Hey, maybe we should have a science advisor.”
“[Trump] said: Did I want to be the science adviser?” he told Stat. Gates’s reply? “That’s not a good use of my time.”
Gates said he did not know whether the offer was genuine. “He probably himself didn’t know if he was serious,” Gates said.
The last director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy was John Holdren, a passionate advocate in the fight against climate change.
The post’s vacancy since Holdren’s resignation at the end of President Barack Obama’s tenure is the longest since in position was created. Indeed, the office of science advisor, which once had 135 staffers, had only 45 as of late last year.
“Trump is a science and technology talent repellent,” Holdren told CBS News in November.