Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, was once a big dollar Democrat donor, a life long Democrat, but now prefers President Donald J. Trump’s economic plans, including Trump’s focus on cutting business regulations that prevent small businesses from being successful.
“I do not see anybody in the Democratic primary race today that is enough in the center where I believe most of the voters are, and particularly where most African Americans are,” Johnson told CNBC in 2019.
BET founder Robert Johnson told CNBC on Wednesday he’s viewing the election between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden through the lens of being a businessman.
“Where I come out as a businessman, I will take the devil I know over the devil I don’t know any time of the week,” Johnson said on “Squawk Box.”
Johnson, according to his WIKI page, is a small businessman at heart, “After stepping down as a lobbyist for the cable industry, Freeport, Illinois native Robert L. Johnson decided to launch his own cable television network. Johnson would soon acquire a loan for $15,000 and a $500,000 investment from media executive John Malone to start the network. The network, which was named Black Entertainment Television (BET), launched on January 25, 1980.”
In 2019 Johnson, a lifelong Democrat and America’s first black billionaire told reporters at CNBC that he had assessed the Democratic contenders in next year’s presidential election. And he doesn’t like what he saw.
“If you take a snapshot today, I don’t think that group is capable of beating Donald Trump, despite what the polls say,” Johnson told CNBC in an interview.
“I think the president has always been in a position where it’s his to lose.”
“I know what President Trump has done and what he’s said he will do. I don’t know what Vice President Biden has said he will do other than masks, listen to the scientists,” the 74-year-old Johnson said. He suggested the coronavirus response should weigh the tradeoffs of “pandemic safety” versus “economy growth.”
“Johnson has been a big Democratic donor over the years but also has spoken positively about Trump’s economic policy. In 2016, he said he declined a position in Trump’s Cabinet, saying it was not due to politics but because he could not deal with government red tape,” CNBC reported.
“I would rather know who I’m going to deal with in the White House. I’m going to know what regulatory decisions they’re going to make. What fiscal policy decisions, what monetary policies they’re going to make than to be taking a chance, particularly when you have the turbulence of a pandemic,” said Johnson, who in the past has been complimentary of Trump’s business-centric policies.
President Donald Trump has done “positive things” for the economy that have greatly benefited African Americans, said Johnson.
“For African Americans, the trend continues to be favorable,” Johnson said Thursday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “There used to be an old saying, ‘When White America catches a cold, African Americans get pneumonia.’ It’s going the opposite way now. White unemployment is going down, African American unemployment is going down. That’s a plus-plus that you can’t argue with.”
“I give the president credit for doing positive things; when I see a president doing positive things, particularly for African Americans,” added Johnson.