The next U.S. presidential election is Donald Trump’s to lose despite some polls suggesting the president is behind several of his potential Democratic challengers, entrepreneur and media mogul Robert Johnson said on Friday.
“I think the president has always been in a position where it’s his to lose based on his bringing a sort of disruptive force into what would be called political norms,” Johnson, who founded cable network BET and RLJ Companies business network, told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.
He explained that Trump “brings his style” to the way he handles issues such as in foreign policy or immigration. That’s something that the president’s supporters like and the reason why they voted for him and will do so again next year, added Johnson.
Trump’s ability to “dominate the news cycle” also puts him above his challengers, according to Johnson. He explained that Democrats often gets caught up and agitated over what Trump says, and then lose focus on substance. In addition, he said none of the Democratic presidential candidates appear to be “enough in the center” where most voters are, particularly African-American voters.
“If you take a snapshot today, I don’t think that group is capable of beating Trump despite what the polls say,” he said.
An ABC News/Washington Post survey released earlier this month showed five of the top Democratic challengers beating Trump by at least 9 and as many as 17 percentage points, a wider margin than in most other polls. Those five Democrats are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Johnson, who described himself as a longtime Democrat, has made headlines multiple times for praising Trump for the “positive things” he’s done to grow the U.S. economy — something that he said he still stands by now.
But when asked if his praise for Trump means he’ll vote for the president in next year’s election, Johnson suggested that may not be the case.
“It means that I’m going to speak my mind, speak in an independent way based on the facts and not try to get caught up in the politics,” he said.
— CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.