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If Van Jones thought his Friday appearance on The View would be a breeze, he was sorely mistaken. During a contentious interview, co-hosts Sunny Hostin and Ana Navarro grilled Jones on his flip-flopping stance on former President Donald Trump, which has led to a diminishing sense of trust within the Black community. Jones was visibly flustered as he attempted to address Hostin and Navarro’s questions, and he immediately got defensive about his record as a prison reform advocate and his belief in bipartisanship.
“You do spent a lot of time threading the middle and trying to unite people, but there are those who really accuse you of being a political opportunist, a chameleon, so to speak, who provided racial cover for disgraced, twice-impeached President Trump,” she said, before reading a quote from Jones defending the “good stuff” Trump did for Black Americans. “People in the Black community don’t trust you anymore. What is your response?”
Jones immediately insisted that he doesn’t think Hostin’s characterization of the situation is “true,” and accused social media users of taking his words out of context. “My entire life has been about bringing people together to solve tough problems for people at the very bottom who don’t have anything,” he said. “By working with Republicans at the local, state, and federal level — and yes, including the Trump administration — I have helped to pass 18 bipartisan bills. We got 14,000 people out of the federal prison system.”
The CNN host could have stopped there, but instead, he proceeded to give an extended monologue about his commitment to helping underprivileged Americans, particularly those in prison. “At a certain point, we’ve got to stop focusing on rhetoric and look at results,” said an impassioned Jones.
I try to be balanced. But look at what I’ve done! Who among my critics have been able to get people together and help people at the bottom?”
Jones’ rant went on for so long that Joy Behar didn’t even realize he had concluded. “Oh, we’re back,” she said, as The View‘s pre-commercial music played. “You’re finished?”
Clearly, he wasn’t. After the commercial break, Navarro doubled down on Hostin’s criticism and asked Jones to explain his “evolution” from “principled critic of the Trump administration” to visiting the White House for celebrations and “posing for pictures with Candace Owens?”
“There’s no evolution,” replied Jones, adding that during the Obama administration, he worked with Republicans like Newt Gingrich to pass legislation, and will continue to do so regardless of who is in office. He added that when he says anything negative about Trump on CNN, it’s ignored on social media, but when he “would say anything to give him any credit, it would go viral.”
“95% of what I said on CNN — I wouldn’t even be on CNN as a Democratic critic of the Republican Party. But when they do something right, I’m going to say it, and then I’ll get beat up for saying it! And I don’t get the 95% credit,” he complained.
When Navarro once again brought up photos he took with right-wing pundit Candace Owens — “Do you not regret that? Do you not see you’re giving her legitimacy?” she asked — Jones insisted that he does not regret it.
“You’re going to have to take it outside,” said the fill-in moderator, before throwing the show to commercial. What a way to start the weekend!
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