To say CNN pundit Van Jones seemed taken aback when “The View” co-host Sunny Hostin told him many in the Black community didn’t trust him anymore is an understatement. Now Page Six is reporting that a source told them Jones felt “ambushed” by Hostin and part-time “The View” co-host Ana Navarro during his appearance on the show.
“He felt like they were rude, and he was completely blindsided by how they questioned him. He was not happy about how the interview went. It was unprofessional,” the unnamed person told Page Six.
Jones appeared on the popular morning talk show on Friday, Feb. 5, to promote a documentary called “The Reunited States” that he and another of the show’s co-hosts, Meghan McCain, executive produced. However, the line of questioning turned critical of Jones when Hostin accused Jones of being a “political opportunist” who vacillates in his convictions when it is beneficial.
“Now Van, you do spend 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 a racial cover for former disgraced, twice-impeached, President Trump,” Hostin said, citing times when Jones said Trump didn’t get enough credit for the “good stuff” he’s done for Black people, as opposed to when Jones cried on CNN after Biden won by apparently heralding the values of character and truth.
“People in the Black community don’t trust you anymore. What is your response?” Hostin told Jones. Jones responded that his full quote was not shown and — as he noted has become common — in the absence of the full soundbite his remarks are being taken out of context.
“I don’t think that that’s true. The entire quote I said was that Trump has done a lot of good stuff he doesn’t get credit for and then I went on to say the reason he doesn’t get credit for it is because he’s done all this horrific stuff and it completely erases what he’s done,” Jones said. “But what happens is social media will take the clip, but they won’t show the full context.”
Navarro agreed with Hostin, telling Jones she was right. “You’ve lost a lot of people who trusted you and who saw you as a voice because of the positions you took during Trump,” Navarro said. “In 2016, you and I were probably the two most vocal critics of Trump during the campaign on CNN … and then all of a sudden you show up working with nepotism Barbie and nepotism Ken [Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner] … and so I think there’s people who wonder, and I’m one of them, how did that evolution happen?”
Jones told Navarro there was “no evolution” and that he’s always worked with whoever was in office to pass prison reform and free people from incarceration.
“If I then said, ‘We have a new president, I’m not going in there for four years or eight years, it was never then about the people behind bars, it was about me.’ … I was a person who was willing to go in there and I will do it with every president to get people home from prison,” Jones said.
The exchange went viral, and social media users were divided on the topic. Some celebrated Hostin and Navarro’s critique of Jones, while others came to his defense.
Author Saeed Jones tweeted, “@sunny I just watched the clip of you reading Van Jones into the grave. And if we ever meet, I’d like to buy you a drink!”
“Van any Black person who thinks they can speak for every Black person is full of baloney. You know in the USA those who can work across the lines and compromise with fellow citizens get more done. You make more light than heat. The View IMHO is a show in search of a purpose,” Twitter user @Hontas_Farmer wrote in response to the controversy.
Page Six’s sources told them Jones “expected a friendly environment, and I don’t think Meghan even knew there was anything controversial about him. It was how they asked the questions that was off-putting. It was shocking how intolerant they were.”
The report also said a different source said Jones was livid and confronted producers after the segment. “He told them, ‘I didn’t expect to be ambushed,’” the source said.
On Twitter, Jones said the interview was evidence he and McCain’s documentary was very necessary.
“Real trust is earned by deeds over decades. I was there to promote a film called @the_reunited, about people listening across lines of difference. Ironically, the need for the film was made more apparent by some of the co-hosts. So I hope more folks will watch it,” Jones tweeted on Feb. 8, while thanking a friend for their support.