- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television who recently met with President-elect Donald Trump, said Tuesday that he’s known the business mogul for years and still doesn’t believe he’s the racist that some paint him to be.

Mr. Johnson, a Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton’s campaign, said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that Mr. Trump wants to work with black Americans.

“To me, I never thought Donald Trump, and I still don’t believe it today, was a racist. I don’t believe that he is anti-African-American,” he said. “I just believe that for too long, the African-American community has been ignored by the Republicans because they thought we were always locked with the Democrats and unfortunately taken advantage of by the Democrats.”

Mr. Johnson, the founder and chairman of asset management firm RLJ Companies, said Mr. Trump doesn’t really belong to either party.

“He’s certainly not an establishment Republican and he’s not a Democrat,” he said. “He was open, and he’s a business guy. And business guys tend to look at where’s the opportunity for a benefit.”



Mr. Johnson met with Mr. Trump and top advisers Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus and Jared Kushner at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Nov. 20.

“It was a very candid, frank conversation we had,” Mr. Johnson said. “Particularly about how the president-elect and his administration could reach out to the African American community. And I made it a point to say to him, ‘President-elect Trump, you shouldn’t start any discussion with African Americans about what [they] have to lose, but talk about what African Americans have to gain under a Trump administration in terms of economic opportunity, jobs, and full participation in the U.S. economy.’ And he said, ‘You’re right, I should be more aspirational.’ And I think that’s what he’s going to try to be.”

Mr. Johnson also revealed that he shot down a Cabinet position because he has no desire to work in government.

“It was an easy discussion, because I wasn’t coming there on a job interview,” he said. “[Mr. Trump] hinted at something I could be interested in, and I quickly shut that down. It was a Cabinet position.”

“But I can’t work for the government … because to me as an entrepreneur trying to work in a government structure where you got to through 15 different layers of decision-making to get want you want done doesn’t fit my mold,” he added.

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