CNN’s Van Jones is a weird guy. Seemingly disliked in equal proportions by Republicans and Democrats, Jones has made for himself a kind of dual career over the last four years. Yes, he’s always there when Anderson Cooper needs a well-known black guy to lambast President Donald Trump and his administration for their latest forays into “racism,” and yes, he’s just as bad as Al Sharpton when it comes to playing the race card on any given incident.
On the other hand, how many people on the left would be willing to say what Jones did on October 23: “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. I worked with him on criminal justice stuff. I saw Donald Trump have African American people, formerly incarcerated, in the White House — embraced them, treated them well. There’s a side to Donald Trump that I think he does not get enough credit for.”
Is Jones a centrist? A pragmatic? Or is he just one of those guys who puts his finger to the wind, letting the day’s trends tell him which way to flow?
On Saturday, when CNN and other major media outlets called the election for Joe Biden, Jones clearly knew which way the wind was blowing. He launched into a tearful performance on the air, expressing how grateful he was for the result.
“It’s easier to be a parent this morning,” Jones said, choking up. “It’s easier to be a dad. It’s easier to tell your kids: ‘Character matters, it matters. Telling the truth matters. Being a good person matters. It’s easier for a whole lot of people. If you’re Muslim in this country, you don’t have to worry if the president doesn’t want you here. If you’re an immigrant, you don’t have to worry if the president is going to be happier to have babies snatched away or send Dreamers back for no reason.”
He continued: “It’s vindication for a lot of people who have really suffered. You know ‘I can’t breathe?’ That wasn’t just George Floyd; that was a lot of people who felt that they couldn’t breathe. Every day you’re waking up and you’re getting these tweets and you just don’t know — and you’re going to the store and people who have been afraid to show their racism are getting nastier and nastier to you. And you’re worried about your kids and you’re worried about your sister. And can she just go to Walmart and get back into her car without somebody saying something to her?”
But like…if you really felt this way, would you go out of your way to praise Trump for what he’s done for the black community? And if you don’t actually feel this way, why break down about it on the air?
The whole thing just felt phony to us.
Then again, this is CNN. What else do you expect?