Bob Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), seems to be showing a surprising amount of openness with the election of Donald Trump, telling CNBC’s Squawk Box on Monday that black Americans should "give him the benefit of the doubt."
Johnson made his comments following a meeting with the President-elect at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey on Sunday. According to Johnson, Trump invited him for a meeting in hopes to discuss ways the black community can benefit from his Presidency.
Johnson, who has known Trump for some time and even worked events with him in the past, said that the black community shouldn't have an attitude of hostility or friendliness with Trump, but should be one of wait and see.
My approach to these guys is, look, I don’t look at you as enemies and I don’t look at you as necessarily friends. And I look at you on behalf of African-Americans, we have permanent interests. That doesn’t mean that one day we won’t support you or one day we will support you, and that’s where the African-American voter should be.
This is something that the congressman from Missouri said when the Congressional Black Caucus was founded, and black America should have no permanent friends or enemies, just permanent interests. With the Trump administration, that’s the philosophy we should take and we should not lock ourselves in one side or the other.
And I’m a Democrat, and I say it with all due respect to the Democratic party and the Republican party, this country needs somebody that is going to lead it, not somebody that is going to force us to choose sides. If Donald Trump believes he should be talking about what black Americans have to gain, and as President Obama said and Hillary Clinton said, let’s give him a shot and give him the benefit of the doubt and see if we can find common ground.
The comments made by Johnson are the kind of healthy conversation that has been missing between conservatives and black America for decades. Not exactly an easy task to convince people of your platforms when men like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson shout "racist" before getting past "How do you do?"