Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, told CNBC on Thursday that he hoped the Republican party would retain control of the U.S. Senate in order to counterbalance Democrat proposals.
“I think a balanced government, where every party has a chance to present its best ideas and come up with the best solutions, is better for the whole country than when the country is in the hands of one party,” Johnson said on the Squawk Box. “If the country is in the hands of a party, some, I would call it, the aggressive behavior of the party is more prevalent, and it seems to take us back to that … zero-sum game where my gain is your loss.”
Johnson’s remarks follow ahead of next month’s Georgian Senate elections, which will determine the balance of power in the upper chamber. For the GOP to maintain control, only one of the running Republicans needs to win because the party currently has a 50-48 seat advantage. Senator David Perdue opposes Democrat challenger Jon Ossoff, while Senator Kelly Loeffler votes against Democrat Raphael Warnock.
Democrats retained control of the House of Representatives in the November election, although they lost some seats and occupied the White House after President-elect Joe Biden defeated incumbent President Donald Trump.
Johnson, who has often donated to Democrats in the past, said before the presidential election that he was uncertain about Biden’s policies, particularly corporate taxes and the epidemic. “Where I come out as a businessman, I’ll take the devil I know over the devil I don’t know at any time of the week,” Johnson said, though he didn’t support Trump at all in the September 30 CNBC interview.
On Thursday, Johnson said he said there would be a “more rational dialogue” in Washington when passing legislation and addressing other issues in the country if Republicans stick to the Senate. As evidence, he pointed to a bipartisan coronavirus stimulus proposal from a group of Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate.
“People like [Democratic Sen.] Joe Manchin and others from the Democratic Party and others from Republicans said, “You know, we need to work together for the country. We need to work together for the economy, and we certainly need to work for people who have been disenfranchised for years,” Johnson said. Founder and Chairman of RLJ Companies Investment Company.
Before serving as Vice President under former President Barack Obama for two terms, Biden had long been a Democratic senator in Delaware. He often reiterated his previous experiences and desire to work out compromise legislation with Republicans, especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY.
“I bet you’re a man who can cross the hallway,” Johnson said of Biden. “You can talk to Republicans. You can talk to the liberal wing of your party to align them when they’re too wrong, so I’m looking for these kinds of things.”
Johnson hopes Biden will be able to provide support to black-owned businesses hit by the economic consequences of the coronavirus and the epidemic. He suggested to Biden that he organize a meeting of business groups and financial institutions to help develop the assistance plan.
“It is a terrible epidemic that is destroying the economy in much of the country. Black businesses are going into a deep recession, depression first, and cannot recover without capital, and I don’t think it’s just a matter of borrowing capital. I think you need to continue direct the concept of subsidies for these businesses, ”Johnson said.