On Monday, Bob Johnson, media mogul and BET founder told CNBC that fellow African-Americans should give President-elect Donald Trump “the benefit of the doubt” and that he hoped common ground can be reached with the incoming Republican administration about issues facing the black community.
On Sunday, Johnson and Trump had a “great chat” about business solutions to social problems” on the meting at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.
The focus was on the ability of capitalism to create high-paying manufacturing and service industries.
During the campaign, Trump made the case to African-American voters that Democrats let them down, and argued repeatedly “what do you have to lose” by voting for him.
Johnson said he told the real estate mogul that instead of that question, he should be asking and attempting to answer the question of what African-Americans can gain from a Trump presidency.
During the 2016 campaign Johnson supported Hillary Clinton, but on Sunday’s meeting he have decided to give the real estate mogul a chance.
“Trump is a business guy, and I think he’s going to tilt towards finding [a] way to use fiscal policy … to move the economy forward,” he said. “Let’s give him a shot. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, see if we can find common ground.”
“That’s what’s best for African-Americans,” Johnson added.
Johnson is a fan of the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to allow consumers to access cable channels through apps rather than set-top boxes.
He said that just as BET would not have existed had cable not “broken the broadcast monopoly,” new “over-the-top” offerings, like his own, will not be able to flourish unless the FCC eliminates cable’s “stranglehold” on set-top boxes.
Trump has been critical of Comcast, the country’s largest cable operator.
Johnson said he believed Rep. Bill Clay Sr., a Missouri Democrat and founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, was right when he said black Americans should have no permanent friends, and no permanent enemies, just permanent interests. He also said that he is not seeing Trump neither as a friend nor as enemy.
Johnson said the country needs a leader, “not somebody who’s going to sort of choose sides,” and he is hopeful Trump can be that type of president.
Asked whether the meeting had anything to do with his possibly joining the Trump administration, Johnson dismissed the idea, saying he has “never worked for the government … and never wanted to work for the government.”
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