Bob Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, has a message for black people after a recent private meeting with President-elect Donald Trump: give him a chance.
The television exec, who retired as head of the network in 2006, reportedly met with Trump on Sunday to discuss how he can better reach out to the African-American community.
In an interview with CNBC that aired on Monday, Johnson revealed that he and Trump had a “great chat.”
“If you recall, during the election, he talked about ‘What do African American’s have to lose?” Johnson said. “I told him, ‘The real question you should be asking is what do African Americans have to gain from your presidency?’”
Johnson explained that he and Trump talked about “business solutions to social problems,” including a program where tax credits and incentives go to companies that invest capital in urban markets.
When asked how he feels about the fact that many people in black and immigrant communities feel that Trump and his supporters are racist and xenophobic, Johnson insisted that he’s known Trump for many years and feels “we can find common ground.”
“This country needs somebody who is going to lead it, not somebody who is going to force us to choose sides,” he added.
“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.”
It’s nice that Johnson can comfortably approach the prospect of a Trump presidency with this level of optimism, but it remains to be seen whether Trump’s “New Deal” for black America, which glazes over issues of racism and police brutality, will actually benefit black people in the long run.