Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box Tuesday and discussed a meeting he had with President-elect Trump and his advisers after the election. Johnson very directly said he did not believe Trump was a racist and that he had a genuine interest in seeing African-Americans benefit under his leadership. CNBC reports:
To me, I never thought Donald Trump, and I still don’t believe it today, was a racist. I don’t believe that he’s anti-African-American,” said Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Cos. “For too long, the African-American community has been ignored by the Republicans because they thought we were always locked with the Democrats.”
Trump is not in either camp, Johnson said: “Certainly not an establishment Republican [and] he’s not a Democrat, he was open. And he’s a business guy. And business guys tend to look at where’s the opportunity for a benefit.”
In the same interview, Johnson made news when he mentioned that he had been offered a cabinet-level position. “He hinted about something that I could be interested in and I quickly shut that down,” Johnson said. Asked what position he turned down Johnson replied, “I don’t want to tell the cabinet position, but it was a cabinet position.” Johnson immediately added, “But I, you know…I can’t work for the government.” Asked why not, Johnson explained, “Because to me, as an entrepreneur trying to work in a government structure where you gotta go through 15 different layers of decision making to get what you want done, doesn’t fit my mold of being.”
This isn’t the first time Johnson has spoken positively about his meeting with Trump. In a previous appearance on CNN Johnson was asked to comment on support given to Trump by racist groups and said:
The proof is in the pudding. If you want to demonstrate to African-Americans that you totally reject that kind of behavior, which I believe Donald Trump and his administration does, then the next question is, okay we understand that, show me how you’re gong to help African-Americans gain economic growth in this country, jobs, access to capital and all the things that make you successful in this country.
Here’s the Squawk Box interview with Johnson: