*After his appearance on Friday on ABC’s “The View,” Van Jones is probably not looking to return anytime soon. He was there, in the first place, to promote his new documentary, “The Reunited States,” which was co-produced by “The View” co-host Meghan McCain.
Jones found himself being confronted by “The View” co-host Sunny Hostin over both his kind words for former President Donald Trump and his willingness to work with the previous administration on criminal justice reform.
“Now, Van, you do spend a lot of time, you know, 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 former, disgraced, twice-impeached President Trump,” Hostin began. “You said this, 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.'”
Hostin then recalled Jones shedding tears of joy after the network called Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election his statement that ‘it’s easier to be a parent now, character matters now, truth matters,’ and his invocation of George Floyd by saying people “couldn’t breathe.”
“People in the Black community don’t trust you anymore,” Hostin told Jones. “What is your response?”
“I don’t think that that’s true,” was a somewhat startled Jones responded. He then explained the context of his quote praising Trump, which also included the “horrific stuff” the 45th president also did.
.@VanJones68 defends himself against criticism over giving Trump credit for his work in the Black community, despite publicly disapproving other actions by Trump: “I’m never going to apologize for putting the interest of people at the bottom first.” https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/5SDfUVSl4P
— The View (@TheView) February 5, 2021
Jones also touted his record on criminal justice reform, including the passing of the First Step Act.
“My entire life has been about bringing people together to solve tough problems for people at the very bottom who don’t have everything,” Jones said. “I have spent 25 years fighting against the prison system, I have helped close five abusive prisons. And 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 …
“Black Lives Matter, math matters too, 80% of Black folks are locked up in states that are run in part or whole by Republicans — red states and purple states … the people sitting behind bars aren’t thinking, ‘Get me out of prison Van, but whatever you do, don’t talk to Republicans.'”
Jones continued, “People might not have liked everything I have said on television. I try to be balanced, but look at what I’ve done! Who among my critics has been able to get people together to help folks at the bottom? When we fight like this about everything, and you can’t give anybody even a little bit of credit for anything, who hurts?
“It’s not the politicians, it’s not the pundits, it’s regular [people] who don’t have anything … We have to put their interests first. I’m never going to apologize for putting the interest of people at the bottom first. People need champions whoever is in that White House. I’ve got a responsibility to go in there and advocate and try to get people home out of prison.”