In an interview with CNBC, America’s first black billionaire and the founder of BET, Robert L. Johnson weighed in on what he sees as problems with the Democratic Party.
“The party in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far to the left,” he said an interview on the network. “And for that reason, I don’t have a particular candidate (I’m supporting) in the party at this time. I think at the end of the day, if a Democrat is going to beat Trump, then that person, he or she, will have to move to the center and you can’t wait too long to do that.”
In the interview, Bob Johnson described himself as a “long-time centrist and Democrat,” who supported Hilary Clinton in 2016. He also urged people after Trump’s election to give the new president “a shot” and “the benefit of the doubt.”
Johnson also said that the economy was currently “doing great” and that he gives President Trump “a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large amount of Americans.”
Currently, Johnson is the founder and chairman of The RLJ Cos., a portfolio of companies with holdings in several industries, including the RLJ McLarty Landers Holdings L.L.C., the highest-earning black-owned auto company with revenues of $1.8 billion and ranked No.1 on the 2019 BE Auto 40 list of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses, Black Enterprise‘s annual “BE100s” list.
In 2000, he sold Black Entertainment Television, a company he launched in 1979, for $3 billion to media giant Viacom, which made him the nation’s first black billionaire. Under Johnson’s ownership, BET became the first black-owned company on the New York Stock Exchange.
Since selling BET, he has invested in other business ventures. He showed his proficiency as a serial entrepreneur when he paid $300 million in 2003 to acquire the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Bobcats expansion team. The transaction was huge as it made Johnson the first black majority owner of a major professional sports team.
Johnson’s deal shattered ownership barriers when it came to a black businessman operating in that realm, though at the time, the NBA had a player base that was roughly 80% black. He sold most of his shares of the team to Michael Jordan in 2010.
Last year, Johnson said he was racially profiled at a 5-star luxury hotel in West Palm Beach.
This post was written by Samara Lyn, a writer at Black Enterprise, where it was originally published. It is published here with permission.