Bill Gates 'Excited' About Biden's COVID Team After Criticizing Trump Picks

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has said he is "excited" about the team President Joe Biden has picked to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, a stark contrast to the harsh criticism he handed out to some of Donald Trump's team.

Biden selected top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci and head of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Francis Collins to lead the country's response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Fauci, who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has been appointed as the new president's chief medical officer. He was one of the leading members of Donald Trump's COVID taskforce.

Throughout the pandemic, Fauci has been careful not to openly criticize Trump while correcting false claims, while the administration continuously sought to sideline him.

Bill Gates owns most largest farmland America
Bill Gates, co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, participates in a panel discussion during the Financial Inclusion Forum December 1, 2015 at the Treasury Department in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty

Meanwhile, Collins, who has been selected to stay on as NIH director by Biden, also served in the role under Obama and Trump. His strategy for protecting NIH in the Trump era had been to keep a low profile.

On Wednesday, Gates praised both men as "smart" and "wonderful people" in an interview with Reuters.

The multi-billionaire, who stepped down as chairman of Microsoft Corp in 2014, has, through his philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, committed at least $1.75 billion to fight the pandemic.

Gates said Fauci and Collins will now be able to work effectively and speak the truth under the new administration. He also criticized Trump's handling of the pandemic, saying it had "sometimes felt like [Fauci and Collins] were the only sane people in the U.S. government."

At the start of the pandemic, Fauci would often address the nation during White House press conferences, relaying his stark assessment of the coronavirus crisis in the country.

However, Trump and his team strayed further and further away from the advice of many of its scientists and public health experts as he sought to play down the seriousness of the pandemic.

The White House soon sidelined Fauci, scuttling some of his planned TV appearances and largely keeping him out of the Oval Office.

During a Fox News interview in July, Trump even publicly criticized the scientist, saying he "is a nice man, but he's made a lot of mistakes."

Gates told Reuters: "I'm excited about the team that Biden has picked," adding that he is pleased "that he's appointed smart people and the fact that Dr. Fauci won't be suppressed."

It comes after he heavily criticized some members of Trump's COVID team, including Scott Atlas, who Gates claims was only appointed as a White House coronavirus advisor because he agrees with the Trump administration's "crackpot theories."

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Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, gives an opening statement during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss vaccines and protecting public health during the coronavirus pandemic. September 9, 2020 in Washington DC. Getty

Atlas, a senior fellow at the conservative-leaning Hoover Institute at Stanford University, became an advisor to the Trump administration in August. The appointment of the neuroradiologist, who is not an expert in infectious disease or epidemiology, was viewed by some as an attempt to counter the opinions of Coronavirus Task Force members such as Fauci.

Gates also said that he was also pleased that under Biden, the U.S. has rejoined the World Health Organization.

During his time in office, Trump claimed China had "total control" over WHO and said U.S. funding would be redirected to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs."

Beyond Biden's new team, Gates also spoke about the "crazy" and "evil" conspiracy theories about both himself and Fauci spreading on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the millions of online posts had likely taken hold in part because of the combination of a frightening viral pandemic and the rise of social media.

"Nobody would have predicted that I and Dr. Fauci would be so prominent in these really evil theories," Gates said. "I'm very surprised by that. I hope it goes away."

Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci said President Joe Biden's coronavirus response was "strikingly different" than former President Donald Trump. Here, Fauci speaks during a White House press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty

Since the pandemic began a year ago, millions of conspiracies have been circulating the internet, fuelling misinformation about the pandemic and the motives of people working to fight it.

These theories include claims that Fauci and Gates created the pandemic to try and control people, that they want to profit from the virus, and that they want to use vaccines to insert trackable microchips into people.

"But do people really believe that stuff?" Gates asked. "We're really going to have to get educated about this over the next year and understand... how does it change peoples' behavior and how should we have minimized this?"