BET Founder Bob Johnson says life could improve for African-Americans under a Trump administration.
Johnson, who is a Democrat and supported Hillary Clinton, met with President-elect Donald Trump on November 20th at Trump’s golf club in New Jersey. According to Johnson, the two billionaires discussed outreach to African-Americans and how the Trump White House should approach the Black community going forward.
Johnson told Roland Martin during his exclusive interview on NewsOne Now, “Black Americans should try to find common ground with the President, who now controls both the House and Senate, because you have to engage power in some way to see if there is an opportunity to build a relationship that will benefit the interest of African-Americans.”
The strategy Johnson proposes for African-Americans going forward under a Trump administration is that “Black people should have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies––just permanent interests.”
He added, “Looking through that prism, it is in the interest of African-Americans to give Donald Trump and his administration a chance to show what they’re going to do for African-Americans.”
During his meeting with the nation’s next Commander-in-Chief, Johnson suggested that Trump not “come to Black America [with] what you did during the campaign and say, ‘What do you got to lose?’ Approach and engage Black America by saying, ‘This is what you have to gain if you involve yourself with policies of the Trump administration.”
This form of interaction may be difficult for some after the 2016 election cycle, during which Trump used racially charged comments to stir up his supporters. But Johnson warned against reacting to a Trump presidency in a visceral way: “A visceral reaction is not a policy – it’s an emotion,” he said, offering advice to the various demonstrators protesting the election: “If you want to picket and protest, do it, but do it peacefully.”
As for those who proclaim their votes do not count, he reiterated: “We need to get out and vote and exercise that ballot power. Don’t think that the world comes to an end because Donald Trump is elected…Begin to engage the Trump administration on things that he said he’s going to do.”
One item of interest should be the rebuilding of America’s inner cities. Johnson said that should equate to jobs, more capital, and investment in infrastructure. He firmly believes the same list of issues Black America has presented to Democrats should also be brought to the steps of Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, and President-elect Trump.
He later said, “You can point fingers at Donald Trump, you can point fingers at Steve Bannon, you can point fingers at the whole Republican administration, but that’s not going to get you where you want to be, which is permanent interests of African-Americans being addressed by either party. As long as we lock ourselves into one party in a two-party system, we’re going to be diluted in our power.”
Watch Roland Martin and Bob Johnson discuss Johnson’s meeting with Donald Trump in the video clip above.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty