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The past relationship of Bill Gates with Jeffrey Epstein, a disgraced financier, has been a topic of heated conversation.
The billionaire, who is also a philanthropist with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation discussed his work on Tuesday with Judy Woodruff, PBS News Hour, about vaccine equity and the climate crisis.
Gates stated that he was extremely fortunate to have the support of his former wife Melinda, and Warren Buffett's incredible generosity, to bring these important causes to fruition. It was still considered impossible to fund mRNA vaccines. I feel very fortunate to have been involved in this work. This will be my focus for the rest if my life.
Related: Bill Gates talks to Anderson Cooper about Jeffrey Epstein: I Made a Mistake’
Woodruff quickly changed the topics towards the end of the interview and hard-hit Gates by asking questions about Epstein's relationship.
It was previously reported that Gates would have dinners with Epstein over several years, even though Epstein was convicted in 2011 of soliciting prostitution by a minor.
Woodruff asked you what you knew about him before you met with him.
Before answering, Gates started to fidget and avoid eye contact.
I had dinners together. The Microsoft founder stated that he regretted doing it. [Epstein] was in relationships with people that he claimed would contribute to global health, which is something I am interested in. Not enough philanthropy goes towards this direction. These meetings weren't what he claimed and I ended them. This is nothing new, it goes back a long way ago.
Although Gates was not interested in speaking further, Woodruff kept going, pointing out how Gates had continued to meet him over the years and asking him about his past.
Gates said that I had regretted having those dinners.
Woodruff again asked Gates if he had learned anything from the Epstein fallout. Gates responded and closed the conversation. The conversation was redirected back to philanthropic work.
He's gone now, so you have to be cautious. I am proud of the work we have done in philanthropy and the foundation. This is what I wake up to every morning and try to focus on.
Gates was not the only one to be pressed about Epstein's meetings. Anderson Cooper, a billionaire from August, also sat down with Gates to discuss the topic.
Gates said to Cooper that it was a mistake to spend time [Jeffrey Epstein] to give him credibility of being there. "There were many others in the same situation, but my mistake."
Forbes reported that Bill Gates, with a net worth of $132 billion as of Thursday morning, was the fourth-richest person in the world.