Madison, Tennessee resident and businessman Robert Sherrill, currently seeking a federal pardon from U.S. President Donald Trump for past federal drug offenses, appeared on FOX News twice last week.
Sherrill first appeared with a panel of other Nashville business owners where they shared their thoughts on the presidential election. Sherrill said at the time — before Thursday’s presidential debate in Nashville — that he had not yet decided on whether to support Trump, the incumbent, or Trump’s challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.
But Sherrill said that he, as a small business owner, was leaning more toward Trump. Biden, as president, would raise taxes, Sherrill said. Sherrill said higher taxes could cripple his business, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
But after Thursday’s debate, Sherrill said he had decided on a candidate.
“Last night’s debate for sure solidified my support for Trump. He was strong. He was straightforward,” Sherrill said during a second appearance on FOX News.
“He gave me confidence as an African-American in this country moving forward with him at the head.”
FOX News then asked Sherrill what he thought about paying his employees a higher minimum wage, a topic Trump and Biden debated Thursday. Sherrill said he had 22 employees before COVID-19 hurt his business.
“When the pandemic hit I had to get rid of a lot of people, admin staff, front line staff. In this climate of Nashville, $15 an hour is an astronomical amount of money for a small business owner to be paying. Of course, you will have different workers making different amounts of money,” said Sherrill, who is African-American.
“You may have your supervisor making $15. You may have someone under him making $13 or $12. But to be able to pay everyone $15 an hour, that wouldn’t be sustainable for me and my company.”
As The Tennessee Star reported last month, more black voters are volunteering for and involving themselves with Republican Party causes. As reported last year, former Nashville mayoral candidate Carol Swain, also black, involved herself with an organization called Black Voices for Trump to attract African-American voters.
At age 30, Sherrill had served his time for a drug-related felony and was out of prison.
In 2015 Sherrill started his own company, Imperial Cleaning Systems, which he said reaches nearly $1 million in revenue with more than 20 employees. He published an autobiography, The Journey Back to Now.
Sherrill then started Impact Youth Outreach, a nonprofit to help inner city at-risk youth. Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam pardoned Sherrill so that he would have no state record. Sherrill then started The Dream Initiative, a nonprofit that helps former prisoners reenter society.
As The Star reported last month, Sherrill’s past felony conviction restricts him from contributing all that he wants to contribute. A pardon from Trump could, if granted, enable Sherrill to accomplish grander things, Sherrill said.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Robert Sherrill” by Robert Sherrill Facebook. Background Photo “Sherrill Interview” by Robert Sherrill.