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Bill and Melinda Gates urge Trump to respect people and to not cut foreign aid

Gates foundation letter urged the president to treat women and minorities with more respect and warned against cutting aid to the developing world

Bill and Melinda Gates discussed the importance of foreign aid and the state of US politics. Photograph: Lou Rocco/Getty Images

Donald Trump should treat people – especially women – with more respect, and continue investments in poorer countries for the sake of global security, the world’s leading philanthropic couple Bill and Melinda Gates said on Tuesday.

In remarks accompanying the annual letter to the public about global development issued by their philanthropic foundation, Melinda Gates said: “I wish our president would treat people, and especially women, with more respect when he speaks and tweets.”

And Bill Gates warned that the proposed Trump administration budget could directly lead to millions of preventable deaths around the globe, due to proposed vast cuts to foreign aid and development funds.

“US generosity: if that goes away, even a 10% cut would mean 5 million deaths over the next decade,” he said at an event with his wife to launch the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2018 letter.

The Trump administration, as it did last year, proposed billions of dollars in cuts to foreign aid, which makes up less than 1% of US spending, in its 2019 budget outline. Last year, lawmakers in Congress from both parties mostly ignored the request, and Gates said he hoped they would again this year too.

In a separate interview, Melinda Gates criticized Donald Trump’s habit of using Twitter to attack women and minority groups.

“Those kinds of comments just don’t belong in the public discourse,” she told the Associated Press. She added that while some of Trump’s comments about women have troubled her, his rejection of the feminist label has not.

“Some men have trouble and some women, quite frankly, have trouble embracing that term and what it means, so that honestly doesn’t bother me. It’s more…

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