Billionaire Melinda French Gates backs Biden in first-ever endorsement


By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Philanthropist Melinda French Gates has given Democratic incumbent Joe Biden her first ever U.S. presidential endorsement, citing his support for reproductive rights among other issues.

Gates this year left the charitable foundation she co-founded with her former husband, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, with $12.5 billion for her own charity work.

She said the contrast between Biden and former President Donald Trump, his Republican rival in the Nov. 5 election, “couldn’t be greater, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

“Women deserve a leader who cares about the issues they face and is committed to protecting their safety, their health, their economic power, their reproductive rights, and their ability to freely and fully participate in a functioning democracy,” she wrote on social media platform X on Thursday.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated about $1.8 million in the 2020 election, most of it to Democrats.

In a CNN opinion piece on Thursday, Gates elaborated further, saying Trump’s first term in office endangered the health of women, their safety and freedom.

“And he deliberately appointed Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, which resulted in a decision with far-reaching and catastrophic consequences for women and families,” her CNN piece added.

The court in 2022 overturned the 50-year-old ruling guaranteeing the right to an abortion and ushered in a string of restrictive state measures. Three justices appointed by Trump were in the 5-4 majority.

The Trump campaign had no immediate comment.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Howard Goller)

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