NEW YORK: Bill Gates on Tuesday called on Donald Trump to inspire Americans to embrace innovation as John F. Kennedy once did by urging them to fly to the moon.

“In the same way President Kennedy talked about the space mission and got the country behind that,” the Microsoft founder-turned-philanthropist told MSNBC.

“I think whether it’s education or stopping epidemics… there can be a very upbeat message that (Trump’s) administration (is) going to organize things, get rid of regulatory barriers, and have American leadership through innovation.”

The billionaire tech pioneer — the world’s richest person, according to Forbes magazine — launched a new fund on Monday to invest in clean technology together with other wealthy donors.

He said he recently spoke to Trump by phone for the first time, saying they had “a lot of common friends.”

Gates met his fellow billionaire face-to-face on Tuesday in Trump Tower, where the president-elect has been working to fill out his future administration.

“It was a good time,” Gates told reporters afterward. “We had a good conversation about innovation, how it can help in health, education, the impact of foreign aid and energy, and a wide-ranging conversation about power of innovation.”

Trump is scheduled to meet leaders of several major technology groups on Wednesday, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Satya Nadella of Alphabet (Google) and Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX, The New York Times reported.

The real estate mogul is expected to push them to create jobs after saying last week that he would like Apple — whose coveted iPhones are made in China — to open a large factory in the United States.

But he will be stepping into hostile territory. The tech sector overwhelmingly supported the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during this year’s election campaign and has expressed fear about the effect Trump’s policies on the industry.

The sole notable exception is the controversial PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel, currently a member of Trump’s transition team.