Bill Gates says he regrets not following his ex-wife Melinda French Gates’ advice about meeting with Jeffrey Epstein.
“I certainly made a huge mistake, not only meeting him in the first place, but I met with him a number of times,” Gates told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Tuesday.
Epstein was already a convicted sex offender when their meetings began. In 2008, Epstein pled guilty to procuring a person under 18 for prostitution and felony solicitation of prostitution.
In a recent interview with CBS Mornings, Melinda French Gates seemed to suggest that her ex-husband's associations with Epstein had put a strain on their marriage. She and Gates announced their divorce last year.
“I did not like that he’d had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein,” she said.
She added that she met Epstein once to “see who this man was,” and instantly “regretted” it.
“He was abhorrent,” she said. “He was evil personified. I had nightmares about it afterwards. So, you know, my heart breaks for these young women.”
Gates said on TODAY that he met with Epstein because he thought the financier could help with his “goal of raising money for global health.”
“I didn’t realize that my meeting with him almost downplayed the incredibly awful things he did,” he said. “I learned more about that over time, but I’d add that to the list of big mistakes, including where Melinda’s advice was sound and I should have followed it sooner than I did.”
Savannah asked Gates whether he ever had a sense that something was off with Epstein, mentioning his ex-wife’s visceral, negative reaction to him.
“He was a bad person and, you know, I had a reason that I thought those meetings would lead to something good, but I shouldn’t have done them,” Gates said.
Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in 2019, with medical examiners ruling his death a suicide. He had been awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.