BET Founder’s Words Still Reassure Black Community

Positive message after meeting with Trump didn't get nearly enough ink

BET (Black Entertainment Television) founder Bob Johnson had some terrific words for the president-elect after a meeting with Donald J. Trump last week in New Jersey — a positive development that’s been ignored by most of the mainstream media.

After the meeting at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Johnson took to the airwaves to plead with African-American voters to give Trump a chance.

“Let’s give him a shot. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt; see if we can find common ground. I think that’s in the best interest of African Americans,” Johnson told CNBC in a Monday interview.

Johnson retired as the CEO of BET in 2006. He founded the basic cable and TV channel in 1979; it’s headquartered in Washington, D.C., and owned today by Viacom. Johnson said he and the president-elect discussed a variety of issues regarding African-Americans, including a possible tax incentive initiative in which tax credits would be awarded to businesses that choose to invest in more urban areas.

In another interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett Outfront,” Johnson said he gave advice to the president-elect on his verbal messaging. “Don’t say to black Americans, ‘What do you have to lose?’ Say to black Americans, ‘What do you have to gain by a Trump presidency?’” The advice was in regard to a slightly controversial remark in a campaign speech from Trump.

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Overall, Johnson seemed to hit a much more optimistic and positive note than other talking heads on the Left, saying, “I came away from the meeting understanding that President Trump is committed to reaching out to African-Americans.”

Johnson expressed the need for a leader to all Americans more than ever. “This country needs somebody who is going to lead it, not somebody who is going to force us to choose sides,” he told CNBC.

The get-together with Johnson is another example of the president-elect’s recent inclusiveness that seems to be mostly passed over by much of the media or criticized when it is mentioned. In addition to the meeting with Johnson, who was a Clinton supporter, Trump has also met with his very liberal ex-agent Ari Emanuel, the very publicly critical Mitt Romney, and even Democrat Representative Tulsi Gabbard.

“If black Americans can turn the Republican Party into a friend, they should do it.”

While many seem to want to focus on negative rumors, the actual actions of Trump’s transition to the White House paint a positive picture, even for those in political disagreement with the real estate mogul. Johnson’s words display a powerful feeling of understanding and of looking forward — sentiments many on the Left are loathe to share or believe.

When asked about the massive media coverage of the small group of alt-right white nationalists in D.C., a group Donald Trump has publicly condemned, Johnson again took a more optimistic note than others on the Left. “I know there are people like that in America. It’s been that way ever since slavery existed in this country and they’re not going to go away tomorrow or the next day,” he said on CNN.

Johnson reportedly became a billionaire when he agreed to sell BET to Viacom in 2000.

His best words out of his meeting with Trump came in the form of a message to African-American voters and those still unwilling to work with the incoming president. “If black Americans can turn the Republican Party into a friend, they should do it. If they can keep the Democratic Party as a friend, they should do it. Our interests should focus on our self-interests and not be locked in one party or ignored by the other party. And as President Obama and Hillary Clinton said, ‘If we can find common ground with President-Elect Trump, we ought to do it in the best interest of African-Americans and the best interest of the country.’”

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