President Trump tried to say 'You're hired' to Bill Gates

The president reportedly offered Microsoft's co-founder the position of White House science adviser.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
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Bill Gates met with President Donald Trump last month. 

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President Donald Trump has been saying "You're fired" a lot lately. But he reportedly tried to hire a new science adviser. 

Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, met with Trump in March. During that meeting the two talked about a universal flu vaccine, and Trump asked Gates if he wanted to be the White House science adviser, Gates told STAT News in an interview. 

"That's not a good use of my time," Gates responded to the president, as relayed to STAT. He noted that he's not sure if Trump actually was serious about the job offer. 

"I didn't put him to the test, whether that was a serious thing or not," Gates said. "He probably himself didn't know if he was serious. It was a friendly thing. He was being friendly."

Gates -- contacted through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- and the White House didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. 

The president and the tech industry have had a contentious relationship since Trump took office. Many executives, including Gates, have criticized his policies on immigration, foreign aid and other arenas. But some in Silicon Valley have warmed to Trump in recent months. Apple CEO Tim Cook, for one, attended this month's state dinner with the president of France. 

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hasn't had a director since Barack Obama was president. 

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