News and Commentary

Van Jones Says What Every Democrat Fears About 2020
Van Jones participates in a panel discussion during the TIME 100 Summit 2019 on April 23, 2019 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for TIME

On Tuesday night, following the seventh Democratic presidential primary debate, far-left CNN commentator Van Jones hit Democrats with some tough news about their candidates and the looming 2020 election against President Donald Trump: There is not a single candidate who looks like they have what it takes to beat the president.

“I want to say that tonight for me was dispiriting,” Jones said on CNN post-debate, as reported by The Hill. “Democrats will have to do better than we saw tonight.”

“There was nothing I saw tonight to suggest we’ll be able to take Donald Trump out and I want to see a Democrat in the White House as soon as possible,” he continued. “There was nothing tonight, if you’re looking at this thing, to say any of these people are prepared for what Donald Trump will do to us. And to see further divisions tonight is very dispiriting.”

Jones also hit Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for their “dispiriting” dispute.

“As a progressive to see those two have that level of vitriol was dispiriting,” he said.

The far-left candidates were asked about a dubious CNN report regarding Sanders allegedly telling Warren a woman could never be elected president, which the Vermont senator vehemently denied. Moderator Abby Phillips of CNN, however, openly took Warren’s side during the exchange. The Daily Wire reported:

CNN’s Abby Phillips asked Sanders: “So, Senator Sanders, I do want to be clear here; you’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?”

“That is correct,” Sanders responded.

Phillips then turned to Warren and asked, “Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?”

Jones is vocal Trump critic who infamously called the Republican’s election to the White House in 2016 a “white lash.”

“People talk about a miracle, I’m hearing about a nightmare,” Jones said on-air. “It’s hard to be a parent tonight for a lot of us. You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bully.’ You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bigot.’ You tell your kids, ‘Do your homework and be prepared.’ Then you have this outcome, and you have people putting children to bed tonight and they’re afraid of breakfast.”

“They’re afraid of, ‘How do I explain this to my children?’ I have Muslim friends who are texting me tonight saying, ‘Should I leave the country?’ I have families of immigrants that are terrified tonight,” he continued.

“This was a white lash against a changing country,” Jones charged. “It was a white lash against a black president in part. And that’s the part where the pain comes. And Donald Trump has a responsibility tonight to come out and assure people that he is going to be the president of all the people he insulted and offended and brushed aside.”

“Yeah, when you say you want to take your country back, you got a lot of people who feel that we’re not represented well, either. But we don’t want to feel that someone has been elected by throwing away some of us to appeal more deeply to others,” the CNN commentator concluded.

In December of 2018, Jones slightly changed his tune on Trump, praising the president for taking the lead on criminal justice reform.

“To his credit — and I don’t do this often, nobody’s tougher on Donald Trump when he’s wrong — Trump moved from talking about law and order and ‘lock ’em up’ to saying, listen, everybody deserves a second chance. Let’s take some proven programs … and do it at the federal level,” Jones said, according to The Hill.

“He became, to the shock of everybody, the biggest, loudest champion on criminal justice,” he added. “I got 99 conflicts with the Trump administration, prisons are not one.”