President Trump called out CNN’s Van Jones during a black leadership summit for not thanking him for his achievements in criminal justice reform.
Speaking to an audience attending the Young Black Leadership Summit held at the White House Friday, the president took a shot at Jones and MSNBC host Rev. Al Sharpton when he got to the topic of the much-lauded bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that was passed last year.
(Video: YouTube/The White House)
“So Van Jones was on about two weeks ago, and he came to me, and I am telling you, he was so nice,” Trump said at the summit hosted by Turning Points USA.
“He was sitting right there when I was doing it. I said thank you, Van Jones, thank you this one, this one, that one, that one, and that was it,” he said. “And he came up and thanked me. That was it.”
“Then about three weeks, I saw him on television — I don’t watch his show too much. Neither do too many,” Trump said, apparently referring to “The Van Jones Show” which airs on CNN Saturdays at 7 p.m.
He noted how Jones thanked Sharpton on the show, prompting boos from the audience at the mention of his name. Trump took a moment to recount how he and Sharpton were once friends and “used to go to fights together” along with boxing promoter Don King.
“He liked me until I ran and succeeded in politics because it wasn’t to his benefit,” he said, adding that Sharpton is a “con-man” who “scared NBC into giving him a show.”
Trump returned to his remarks about Jones and how he thanked Sharpton and “all these people I never heard of” for prison reform efforts.
“The only one he didn’t mention was me, ad then it got worse,” he said, recounting how Jones thanked several people by name while celebrating getting criminal justice reform passed.
“I kept waiting for my name,” Trump said.
“I said darling, come over here. I’m going to have a great little name mention. Yes, darling, the First Lady. How good is the First Lady?” he said, noting how he called his wife First Lady Melania Trump over to see the television segment.
“And I kept waiting. And I kept waiting. I grew embarrassed in front of my wife. I said ‘he didn’t name me! I’m the one who did it!’” he continued, adding that he called his son-in-law Jared Kushner who played a large part in getting the First Step Act passed.
“I said ‘Jared, what the Hell is this?’” Trump told the audience. “And then he spoke to Jared and he apologized, didn’t he? But I don’t accept those apologies.”
Jones reacted to the dig by Trump, noting on Friday that the president may have him confused with singer John Legend.
According to CNN:
Jones said Friday that he has never made any such apology to Trump or Kushner. He has never praised Sharpton on his CNN show, and he has habitually given Trump credit for the First Step Act — including in a CNN appearance three weeks ago, in which he said, “I think Trump has gotten too little credit for what he did on criminal justice reform.”
“I literally do not know what he’s talking about,” Jones said.
“I have not apologized for not mentioning Trump because I’ve never not mentioned Trump,” he said. “Why would I apologize for not doing something that I did?”
Jones came under fire from the left last year when he openly thanked and praised the president for his work on prison reform.
“Give the man his due,” Jones tweeted. “[Trump] is on his way to becoming the uniter-in-Chief on an issue that has divided America for generations. Congrats to everyone on both sides who fought for this.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 15, 2018
“I’ll give him a salute and applause,” he said on CNN last year.
The former Obama advisor often praised Trump for the work, calling him the “biggest, loudest champion on criminal justice and used his power to get something done.”
While he may not actually endorse Trump in 2020, Jones recently had a word of caution for his fellow Democrats who he said are facing a “lose-lose situation” in their current impeachment efforts against the president.
“I remember when I was anti-Bill Clinton from the left in the ’90s. And then they tried to impeach him and all of a sudden, Clinton was my best friend,” Jones told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “So I think you get crosscurrents in this thing. At the same time, the Democrats are in a lose-lose situation.”
!!!!@CNN contributor & former Special Advisor to President Obama Van Jones tells a hard truth to House Democrats on impeachment.
“Democrats are in a lose-lose situation.” pic.twitter.com/ktHbb5FMwB
— Mark Bednar (@MarkBednar) October 4, 2019
“If they don’t do something, their own base is going to feel disappointed and you feel like, maybe, Trump gets away with too much. If you go through with the impeachment, though, you could divide the country further, you can take the oxygen away from your candidates and you still don’t solve the problem of foreign interference,” Jones said.
“Just because you impeach the president, that doesn’t mean you still don’t have the foreign interference. So it’s a big mess,” he added, calling impeachment a “nuclear bomb.”
Trump’s address at Friday’s summit and his remarks about Jones got many reactions on Twitter, including from attendees like actor Isaiah Washington.
.@realDonaldTrump has to be the most loving, respectful & Presidential RACIST I’ve ever seen in my life! I mean, just look at how horribly he’s being received by 100’s of black people in the @WhiteHouse I’m telling @VanJones68 @donlemon & @CNN just how horribly he treated US!😂 pic.twitter.com/hobMpfpMlp
— Isaiah Washington (@IWashington) October 5, 2019
Trump-supporting comedian Terrence K. Williams celebrated his invitation to attend the event and getting to meet the president despite, just hours before, having a battle with Twitter as its legal team sent him a “hateful conduct” warning.
I MET PRESIDENT TRUMP TODAY!
Growing up I went from foster house to foster house & i never thought I would be at the White House… let alone speak on the same stage with Pres @realDonaldTrump a man that loves the black community
— Terrence K. Williams (@w_terrence) October 4, 2019
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