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Gates' plea to Trump: Show more respect

Bill and Melinda Gates

London: President Donald Trump should treat people - especially women - with more respect, and continue investments in poorer countries for the sake of global security, the world's leading philanthropic couple Bill and Melinda Gates said on Tuesday.

In their annual open letter answering questions about their foundation, they criticised Trump's proposed cuts to foreign aid, and said he had a responsibility to set a good example and empower all Americans through his statements and policies.

"I wish our President would treat people, and especially women, with more respect when he speaks and tweets," Melinda Gates said in the letter.

"Equality is an important national principle. The sanctity of each individual, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender, is part of our country's spirit."

During the 2016 election campaign against Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Trump was criticised for insulting women, and for his remarks, captured on video, in which he bragged about groping them. The letter, in which Bill and Melinda Gates set out to answer "the 10 toughest questions" they get about their philanthropic endeavours, also took aim at Trump's plans to cut money spent to fight disease.

"These efforts save lives ... And they make Americans more secure by making poor countries more stable and stopping disease outbreaks before they become pandemics," Bill Gates said.

Trump's proposed slashing of funds for diplomacy and foreign aid faced resistance in Congress on Monday, as fellow Republicans joined Democrats in opposing cuts to what they see as key "soft power" spending in the face of global threats. Reuters

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