Just over two weeks ago, Governor Doug Burgum enjoyed a visit from his old Microsoft friend– billionaire Bill Gates. According to Valley News Live, Burgum and Gates had a “wide-ranging conversation on the important issues facing people in North Dakota and around the world”.
As word spread in the news that the two had gotten together, I observed comments on social media from North Dakotans who aren’t exactly giddy with the friendship. One individual actually sent me an article to illustrate their displeasure with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
According to Life News, Melinda Gates – the wife of Bill Gates – attended The Global Family Planning Summit last month in London and expressed her foundations commitment to increase their contributions to “global family planning” by 60%. This means that over the next four years they will contribute an additional $375 million.
From 2009 – 2013, the Gates Foundation gave $71 million to Planned Parenthood. And in February, Bill Gates criticized President Trump for his Executive Order to defund Planned Parenthood overseas.
In 2012, they also gave $46.1 million to Marie Stopes International– described by Life News as “a British abortion chain”. In case you didn’t know, Marie Stopes International provides abortion services in 37 countries around the world. Their own web site boasts that in 2016 their “impact” had “averted” 4.8 million unsafe abortions– meaning the unborn were still terminated, but in a “safe” way.
In addition to the issue of abortion, the Gates Foundation is also a player in education and was the key funding mechanism to getting the controversial Common Core State Standards off the ground. According to reports in 2014, they had contributed over $200 million to the effort to nationalize the Math and English standards.
While considering these two issues of abortion and education, in relation to Burgum and Gates, I must admit that it’s not uncommon for most of us to have friends and associates that hold a wide range of political viewpoints. That is to be expected.
So, why do some North Dakotans have a problem with this friendship? Perhaps that answer is best found in Governor Burgum’s own comments to Point of View’s host Chris Berg during an interview on July 26th.
“[Bill] and Melinda are doing so many amazing things on education in the United States, on global health…”
For some conservative North Dakotans, seeing our governor praise Bill and Melinda Gates on these issues is the same as praising them for their work on the Common Core State Standards and abortion– an idea thought unacceptable by many. This, together with the fact that Bill Gates criticized President Trump – who boasts the second highest approval ranking (59%) in the country here in North Dakota – and it’s no surprise that some folks are a bit critical of the friendship.
3. http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/oil-money-flowed-into-burgum-campaign/article_940a9a4f-362b-50ae-8621-c42dddecba5d.html 4. http://www.valleynewslive.com/content/news/Bill-Gates-in-ND-over-the-weekend-436440613.html