Buffett, Gates have hope for America after Trump ascension

Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:49pm EST
 
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By Jonathan Stempel and Jennifer Ablan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bill Gates and Warren Buffett on Friday expressed optimism that the United States will move ahead as a nation, even as it works through political differences and gets used to the new Trump administration.

The world's two richest people were speaking to students at Columbia University after U.S. President Donald Trump started to unwind the work of his predecessor Barack Obama in a series of executive orders, prompting concern from critics over what the actions mean for Americans and their place in the world.

"I am confident that America will move ahead," Buffett said.

Gates, meanwhile, said the desire for innovation and support for research are "strong" and "largely bipartisan," despite differences on how to accomplish and fund both.

"This administration is new enough; we don't know how its budget priorities are going to come out," but there is much intensity to ensure that the executive branch and Congress encourage "amazing things," Gates said.

Gates co-founded and was the first chief executive of Microsoft Corp, while Buffett runs the conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Forbes magazine said on Friday that Gates is worth $85.2 billion and Buffett is worth $73.9 billion.

An estimated 1,300 people attended Friday's event to watch the close friends, who have known each other for a quarter century.   Continued...

 
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, speaks while Bill Gates looks on at Columbia University in New York, U.S., January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton