Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and America’s first black billionaire, praised President Donald Trump for the roaring economy and criticized Democrats for moving “too far left.”
“The party in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far to the left,” Johnson told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble. “And for that reason, I don’t have a particular candidate (I’m supporting) in the party at this time. I think at the end of the day, if a Democrat is going to beat Trump, then that person, he or she, will have to move to the center and you can’t wait too long to do that.”
A self-described centrist and Democrat, Johnson supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, but he has expressed admiration for many of Trump’s policies after that election.
“I think the economy is doing great, and it’s reaching populations that heretofore had very bad problems in terms of jobs and employments and the opportunities that come with employment … so African-American unemployment is at its lowest level,” Johnson explained.
In June, the black unemployment rate stood at 6.0 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, merely 0.1 percent above its lowest point last year. Sadly, Democrats refused to applaud for the historic lows in black unemployment during Trump’s State of the Union speech in February.
“I give the president a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large amount of Americans,” Johnson added. “I think the tax cuts clearly helped stimulate the economy. I think business people have more confidence in the way the economy is going.”
“Overall, if you look at the U.S. economy … you got to give the president an A+ for that.”
Last December, Johnson joined Trump for a ceremony involving the signing of an executive order establishing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council.
Johnson also warned that America’s increasingly bitter political partisanship is bad for business.
“If business people are concerned about anything, it’s the clear, clear partisan politics that’s become very wicked and very mean. And that’s not helping the American people, and it’s not helping America as a global nation,” he told CNBC.
While he encouraged Trump to “step back a little bit from some of his showmanship,” the first black billionaire insisted that the president deserves credit for the economy — and that will bolster his chances in 2020.
“At the end of the day, the American people are looking for someone who can deliver economically and deliver on opportunities,” Johnson concluded.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.