On Wednesday, Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder Robert Johnson, America’s first black billionaire, suggested that he would vote for President Donald Trump over Democratic nominee Joe Biden. He said that the current president is more reliable on the economy, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic crisis. However, Johnson did stop short of offering his endorsement to Trump.
“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. And that seems to be what business people are confronting today,” Johnson told CNBC.
The BET founder clarified that he was not endorsing Trump.
“I’m not endorsing anybody,” Johnson said. “What I’m saying is if I’m a businessperson, what you want more than anything else, particularly coming out of something as horrible as this pandemic… the more you know about who will be pulling the lever of economic growth, economic development, taxes, stimulus, regulation.”
“In my opinion, you’re better off dealing with somebody you know where they’re gonna be than somebody you really have no idea what decisions they will make at such a critical time,” he added. “I absolutely do not know what Vice President Biden will do. I haven’t heard anything coherent out of what he said he would do.”
Johnson acknowledged that “90-plus percent” of the black community votes for Democrats, but he warned that “if we don’t get clear and concise direction as to what the benefit of changing horses at this time… I would rather who I’m going to deal with in the White House, I want to know what regulatory decisions they’re gonna make, what fiscal policy decisions, what monetary policy decisions they’re gonna make than to be taking a chance, particularly when you have the turbulence of a pandemic.”
While the BET founder appears to be leaning toward Trump, he said he couldn’t say who “won” the first presidential debate on Tuesday. Instead, he insisted that the American people “lost.”
“This was like a schoolyard fight over who had the best-looking girlfriend,” Johnson lamented. “It was a waste of an hour and a half that gave no guidance, no direction at all as to where the country will go after this election.”
As Fox News’s Joseph Wulfsohn noted, the BET founder attacked Biden earlier this year after the Democratic nominee infamously told Charlamagne Tha God, “you ain’t black” if you don’t support Biden.
“Vice President Biden’s statement today represents the arrogant and out-of-touch attitude of a paternalistic white candidate who has the audacity to tell Black people, the descendants of slaves, that they are not Black unless they vote for him,” Johnson told Fox News at the time.
“This proves unequivocally that the Democratic nominee believes that Black people owe him their vote without question; even though, we as Black people know it is exactly the opposite. He should spend the rest of his campaign apologizing to every Black person he meets,” Johnson added.
Last July, Johnson gave President Trump an “A+” on the economy and warned that Democrats are moving “too far left.”
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.