Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), says he is confident that President-elect Donald Trump will have a positive impact on the lives of African-Americans.
Johnson met with Trump in New Jersey on Sunday, and told CNN that he left the meeting “understanding that President Trump is committed to reaching out to African-Americans.”
A billionaire media magnate, Johnson supported Hillary Clinton’s failed White House run. During their meeting, Johnson offered Trump advice on how to connect with black voters.
Johnson encouraged Trump not to “say to black Americans, ‘What do you have to lose?’ Say to black Americans ‘What do you have to gain by a Trump presidency?'”
Indeed, while giving a campaign speech at rally in Dimondale, Michigan in August, Trump said, “Tonight, I’m asking for the vote of every single African-American citizen in this country who wants to see a better future.
“What do you have to lose by trying something new, like Trump?” Trump asked them, adding, “You’re living in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?”
Johnson shrugged off concerns about racist Trump supporters.
“I know that there are people like that in America,” he said. “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.”
Johnson also implored black Americans to “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,” he said.
Johnson added that has “gotta show me what they’re going to deliver to make those kind of silly Nazi behavior[s] irrelevant to black America.”
Trump garnered at least 8 percent of the African-American vote and at least 29 percent of the Latino vote, outperforming Mitt Romney’s 2012 support among those groups.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson