- CNN commentator Van Jones appeared on “The View” on Friday to discuss his new documentary.
- Co-host Sunny Hostin told Jones that many in the Black community “don’t trust” him anymore.
- Jones disagreed and said his focus in working with Trump was on legislative progress.
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However, it was co-host Sunny Hostin who made waves, calling out Jones for expressing relief at former President Donald Trump’s election loss while also working with the previous GOP administration on police reform.
“Now Van, you do spend a lot of time threading the middle and trying to unite people,” Hostin said. “But there are those who accuse you of being a political opportunist — a chameleon, so to speak — who provided racial cover for former, disgraced, twice impeached President Trump.”
Hostin then pointed to one of Jones’ past comments praising the former president, saying “and I quote, ‘Donald Trump, and I get beat up by liberals every time I say this, but I’m gonna keep saying it. He has done good stuff for the Black community. Opportunity zone stuff, Black college stuff. There’s a side to Donald Trump that I think he does not give enough credit for.'”
Jones smiled through the line of questioning despite the direction in which it was headed.
“Recently, you cried on CNN when Joe Biden was elected the 46th president, and you said it’s easier to be a parent now, character matters now, truth matters,” Hostin said. “You even mentioned George Floyd and said a lot of people felt they couldn’t breathe. People in the Black community don’t trust you anymore. What is your response?”
Jones shook his head and disagreed with the assessment.
“Well, I don’t think that’s true,” he said. “The entire quote I said was that Trump has done a lot of good stuff he doesn’t get credit for, and then I said the reason he doesn’t get credit for it is because he’s done all this horrific stuff, said all this horrific stuff and it completely erases what he’s done.”
He added: “People may not like everything I’ve said on television and I try to be balanced. Look at what I have done. Who among my critics have been able to get people together to help folks at the bottom?”
Jones insisted that he chooses to focus on policy and not daily politics.
“I’m never going to apologize for putting the interest of people at the bottom first,” he said. “People need champions. Whoever is in that White House, you have a responsibility to go in there and advocate and try to get people home out of prison. I’m going to keep doing it, whoever is in that White House.”
McCain, who has famously clashed with the other co-hosts on-air, came to Jones’s defense.
“I want to say you have been such a life raft to me, and given me so much hope to live in the spirit of how my dad taught me to,” she said. “A lot of people come up to me almost hourly saying, ‘I loved your dad, I loved your dad, I loved your dad, we need more like him.’ Well, do you know what he did? He made hard choices and he was bipartisan, and he saw the good in people.”
However, co-host Ana Navarro-Cárdenas was not thrilled with Jones’s stance.
“Sunny is right,” she said. “You’ve lost a lot of people who trusted you and who saw you as a voice because of the positions you took during Trump.”
Navarro-Cárdenas called out Jones for working with former White House senior advisor Jared Kushner on criminal justice reform even after Kushner complained about Jones and CNN’s coverage of Trump to a Time Warner executive.
“I think there are people who wonder, and I’m one of them, how did that evolution happen?” Navarro asked. “How did you go from being this very principled critic of the Trump administration as I was to all of a sudden, being in the White House celebrating with them?”
Jones reiterated that he was “proud” of his efforts with the Trump administration and had no “regrets” for his legislative work.