This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference began on Thursday and besides featuring the usual mixture of right-wing grifters, fringe figures, and Republican power players, liberal CNN political commentator Van Jones popped up to engage in his standard “reaching across the aisle to heal the nation’s wounds” bit. And it turned out as well as his previous attempts.
Jones, who worked with Trump son-in-law/White House senior adviser Jared Kushner on a criminal justice reform bill that passed late last year, told the CPAC audience Thursday that conservatives needed to “take some dadgum credit” that they were “now the leader” on the issue of criminal justice reform.
VAN JONES to CPAC: "Here's the deal — the conservative movement in this country… is now the leader on this issue of [criminal justice] reform… take some dadgum credit for being smart. Take some dadgum credit for getting it right." #yikes pic.twitter.com/GUuufkCSBe
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 28, 2019
Furthermore, Jones told the audience that he’d never seen a bird fly “with only a left wing,” letting the conservative audience know that “we need each other.”
Considering that this had long been an issue championed by the left and Republicans had blocked attempts to get a bill passed that would overhaul sentencing laws and guidelines before this recent bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, progressives and liberals were less than thrilled that Jones pandered to the CPAC crowd by telling them conservatives were leading on the issue.
Progressive radio host and MSNBC analyst Zerlina Maxwell reminded Jones that Black Lives Matter had been in the streets for years getting teargassed fighting for racial and social justice, chastising him for going to CPAC to credit conservatives on criminal justice reform.
BLM been out in the streets getting tear gassed and tackled but Van Jones thinks it's a great idea to go to CPAC of all places to credit CONSERVATIVES for criminal justice reform?
— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) February 28, 2019
Media Matters’ Parker Molloy merely said “Van Jones kind of sucks.”
Man, Van Jones kind of sucks
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) February 28, 2019
ShareBlue writer Oliver Willis noted that Jones has been praising Trump and conservatives for a while now.
van jones praises trump on cnn, goes to the white house and hangs out with jared and ivanka, goes to cpac to hail conservatives. i mean… pic.twitter.com/1OtCetzrXL
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) February 28, 2019
Above the Law’s Elie Mystal assured his Twitter followers that he won’t be trying to become famous by going to CPAC like Jones.
I promise that if anybody ever wants to make me famous, I will not be out here like Van Jones at C-PAC.
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) February 28, 2019
Other libs and progressives took part in the trashing of Jones:
Honestly, what the hell is Van Jones endgame here? This is completely embarrassing and laughable on its face. https://t.co/mmzzPZLX7i
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) February 28, 2019
Van Jones going to CPAC to praise conservatives on criminal justice reform is like going to a Koch Industries board meeting to applaud their environmental contributions.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) February 28, 2019
Dear god, Van Jones is an embarrassment. It's the nicest grift job in politics.
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) February 28, 2019
Today is the day Van Jones became a conservative Republican https://t.co/x9BEPh6nPl
— Fernand R. Amandi (@AmandiOnAir) February 28, 2019
We patiently wait for the former Obama administration official to redeem himself to the left by delivering some over-the-top commentary on Trump that will result in right-wing media going ballistic.