The well-oiled barrage on the Trump presidency shows no sign of dissipating anytime soon. However, in a rare turn of events, Trump gets a thumb up from the unlikeliest of sources.
Robert Johnson’s life is the American dream. His father was a farmer and he was the ninth of 10 children. From humble beginnings, he trudged through to a Princeton graduate degree. He founded Black Entertainment Television (BET), grew it into a behemoth, and cashed out when Viacom came knocking with a checkbook to become America’s first black billionaire.
Yet when he made a recent appearance on CNBC, Johnson who is a Democrat and political ally of the Clintons, did not mince words while making glowing remarks about President Trump’s economic accomplishments.
The December jobs data showed a slump of black unemployment to an historical low of 6.8%—the lowest rate since tracking started in 1972. Although it rose slightly afterwards, recent numbers show it is dipping again, reaching 6.9% in March.
To Johnson, there is good reason to “take encouragement from what’s happening in the labor force and the job market.”
“You’ve never had African-American unemployment this low and the spread between African-Americans and whites narrowing. That absolutely means the jobs market is soliciting employees who have been out of the labor force… And so when you look at that, you have to say something is going right,” he added.
Johnson specifically pointed to Trump’s policies as facilitating this economic upswing saying, “if you take into account the Trump tax cut… I believe the economy is on a strong growth path.”
Unsurprisingly, not everyone took his remarks to heart. Critics have long countered that black unemployment had been on a downward trend before Trump became the POTUS. With Director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau, Hilary Shelton, pointing out that, “Most of the programmatic work was set into motion before the last administration was leaving.” Still, the trend has continued rather than reversed under the Trump administration.
Johnson reportedly did not accept a job offer from Trump back in 2016. He reiterated that his reason for turning down the offer was that he didn’t want a government job and not that he had issues with the president’s policies.