Frequent CNN contributor and Democrat Van Jones might have thought he was entering friendly territory by visiting ABC’s The View today, given his across-the-aisle collaboration with conservative cohost Meghan McCain on the new documentary The Reunited States. But cohosts Sunny Hostin and Ana Navarro had other views.
“People in the Black community don’t trust you anymore,” Hostin flatly told Jones, who is Black. Hostin said Jones was perceived as being a “political opportunist” and “chameleon” who “provided racial coverage” for former President Donald Trump. (Jones has spoken frequently about Trump’s contributions to the Black community, including what he says is Trump’s support of opportunity zones, historically Black colleges and universities and prison reform.)
Watch the segment below.
Jones seemed surprised by the charge, and said “I don’t think that’s true,” adding that his acknowledgment of Trump’s contributions was accompanied by acknowledgment of the “horrific stuff” done by the twice-impeached Trump. Jones blamed social media for not showing his statements in context.
“My entire life has been about bringing people together to solve tough problems for the people at the bottom who don’t have anything,” Jones continued, adding that his support for prison reform and the release of prisoners of color necessitated working with Republicans. “I’m going to keep doing it, whoever’s in the White House.
Navarro, an anti-Trump Republican, wasn’t convinced. “In 2016 you and I were probably the two most vocal critics of Trump, during the campaign, on CNN, to the point where it was reported that Jared Kushner went in and met with executives at our parent company and asked that you and I be fired. And all of a sudden you show up working with Nepotism Barbie and Nepotism Ken, and showing up in pictures with Eric Trump and with Candace Owens and so I think there’s people wondering – and I’m one of them – how did that evolution happen? 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 and posing for pictures with Candace Owens? Can you explain that evolution to people who are puzzled by it?”
Responded Jones, “There’s no evolution. When Obama was in office I was working with Newt Gingrich, I was working with Republicans then, to get people out of prison. When you are in federal prison, you don’t get to vote, you don’t get to be on Twitter. You have no opportunity to impact what is going on.” He continued that refusing to work with Trump would have “been about me” rather than people in prison.
“I was a person who was willing to go in there and do it with every president to get people home from prison,” Jones said.
“But you took smiling pictures with Candace Owens,” Navarro shot back, referring to the Black conservative who supported Trump and was a harsh critic of Black Lives Matter. “Do you not regret that? Do you not see that’s giving her legitimacy?”
With time for the segment expired, cohost and Friday moderator Joy Behar broke in. “You two are going to have to take it outside,” she said before the show cut to commercials.
Speaking of smiling pictures, there were four out of five when the cohosts returned for the sign off. As Behar, Hostin, Navarro and Sara Haines smiles and waved goodbye to the cameras, McCain sat expressionless. Her documentary with Jones, The Reunited States, begins streaming on various platforms Feb. 9.
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