Appearing Tuesday on CNBC International, BET network founder Bob Johnson told host Hadley Gamble that the economy under President Donald Trump is “doing great” and said the Democrat Party has “moved too far to the left.”
A partial transcript is as follows:
HADLEY GAMBLE: I’m wondering given your position in the U.S. and your familiarity with what’s called Trump’s brinksmanship when it comes to politics, talk me through how you feel about the economy today? A lot of people have been very worried about the Chines trade spat. The G-20 seemed to quiet down some of those fears. Where do you think it’s headed?
BOB JOHNSON: I think the economy is doing great, and it’s reaching populations that heretofore had very bad problems in terms of jobs and employment and the opportunities that come with employment. African-American unemployment is at its lowest level, Hispanic unemployment and women. I give the president a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large amount of Americans.
I think the tax cuts clearly helped stimulate the economy. I think business people have more confidence in the way the economy is going. We still have some issues on trade negotiations with China, but overall, if you look at the U.S. economy, you got to give the president an A+ for that.
GAMBLE: Walk me through what happens next when it comes to the rhetoric with what we’re hearing from the United States so often to the international community is so much rhetoric between Democrats and Republicans. It feels like nothing gets done in Washington.
JOHNSON: That’s a problem. I met President Trump a number of years ago and he’s got his own style. A lot of people aren’t going to like that style. But, when he says he’s going to try to do something economically, you have to give him credit for making specific steps in doing so… To me, as a life-long Democrat, I think Democrats need to find a message and President Trump needs to step back from some of his showmanship… The party in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far to the left… And for that reason, I don’t have a particular candidate 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.
Bob Johnson, who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, has made it a habit of giving President Trump credit for the booming economy.
“I’m a fundamental believer that there are business solutions to social problems,” Johnson said in December after Trump signed an executive order meant to revitalize poverty-stricken neighborhoods.