First Black Billionaire Robert Johnson Says Democrats Have Gone ‘Too Far to the Left,’ Praises Trump

By Colin Fredericson

BET founder and first black billionaire Robert Johnson, a long-time Democrat, said he is not supporting any Democratic Party candidates for 2020 because of their leftist views.

Johnson made the comments in an interview with CNBC.

“The party, in my opinion, has moved, for me personally, too far to the left,” Johnson said. “And for that reason, I don’t have a candidate [I’m supporting] in the party at this time.”

He said that the current Democratic presidential candidates and the leftist policies they support are problematic.

“The message of some of the programs that the Democrats are pushing are not resonating with the majority of the American people,” he said.

Johnson supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, but has since become a vocal fan of President Trump. He praised the economic gains that have impacted America during Trump’s presidency.

“Well I think the economy is doing absolutely great, and it’s particularly reaching into populations that heretofore had very bad problems in terms of jobs, unemployment, and the opportunities that come with full employment.

“So African American unemployment is at its lowest level, Hispanic unemployment, women—so I give President Trump, and I’ve said this before on ‘Squawk Box,’ I give the president a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large number of Americans.”

He also expressed his praise for the economy from a businessman’s perspective, and from the larger impact of the improved U.S. economy.

“I think the tax cuts clearly helped stimulate the economy. I think business people have a little bit more confidence in the way the economy is going. And I think it’s beginning to have some impact globally.

“We still have some issues to deal with with the China trade negotiation issues, but overall, if you look at the U.S. economy, and you look at the number of people who are no longer looking for jobs but are now seeing the opportunity for job growth, you got to give the president an A+ for that,” Johnson told CNBC.

Johnson also gave the president praise during another CNBC appearance last year on an episode of “Squawk Box.” During the show, the hosts unsuccessfully tried to get Johnson to say something negative about Trump. Instead, he told them how open and accepting the administration had been with him. He was even offered a cabinet position at one point.

According to Black Enterprise, Johnson became the first black billionaire when he sold Black Entertainment Television (BET) to Viacom for $3 billion in the early 2000s. He launched BET in 1979.

He paid $300 million for ownership of the Charlotte Bobcats basketball team in 2003. The deal made him the first black majority owner of an NBA team, according to Black Enterprise. He sold most of his shares in the team to NBA legend Michael Jordan in 2010. Jordan has since had the team name changed back to the Charlotte Hornets, according to ESPN.

Johnson is currently the founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies, according to Black Enterprise. The RLJ Companies is a business network with companies that Johnson holds interests in within the industries of hotel real estate investment, private equity, financial services, asset management, automobile dealership, sports and entertainment, and video lottery terminal gaming, according to the company’s website.