Van Jones: ‘There’s an Honest Level of Sadness and Disappointment … Among Progressives’

By Melanie Arter | March 25, 2019 | 3:05pm EDT
CNN political commentator and former Obama green jobs czar Van Jones (Screenshot)

( – CNN political commentator and former Obama green jobs czar Van Jones, speaking after Attorney General William Barr released his summary of the Mueller report, said Democrats are sad, disappointed, and disoriented that the report found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia to influence the election.

However, he said, people are also confused as to why Trump gets away with the things he does.


During a Sunday appearance on “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon,” Jones said he’s been trying to prepare people for the disappointment he predicted would come after the Mueller report is released and the Democrats’ failure to impeach Trump.

“I’ve been trying to tell folks for a long time that there’s no Santa Claus. There’s no Harry Potter with the magic wand, and I can’t tell you how many people over the years have come up to me—serious people with their hearts broken, saying, but when Bob Mueller comes, man. He’s gonna get Trump, and Trump’s gonna be out of there. Van, how many more days do you think Trump has left? And I said maybe eight years if we don’t start working on real issues and not just talking about Robert Mueller all the time,” he said.


“I think … there is an honest level of sadness and disappointment and disorientation among progressives and Democrats, and I think it goes deeper than just what’s in the report. I think some of us actually feel the way we were raised was maybe wrong, that our parents told us work hard, be honest, be good people, if you’re a bad person, you won’t have a good life,” Jones said.

“And I think some people look at some of the stuff that President Trump does, and they say, well, that guy, isn’t he gonna get in trouble? If I did that at my job, I’d get in trouble, and I think that people are just really struggling to come to terms. It is good that the president was not up to no good with the Russians, but it’s still confusing to people, why does he kiss up to Putin so much? Why does he want to meet with him by himself? People are confused. Well, if it’s not that, then what is it?” he added.

Jones said people are “heartbroken” that Trump continues to “say and do stuff that we can’t do, and there’s no consequence.”

“But even in the broader aspect, Van, of why does this president tell so many lies? Why would he lie to the American people about paying off a porn star or Playboy--” host Don Lemon said.

Jones said Democrats need time to “be sad” and “grieve” that the president is “so mean” and “there’s no consequence.”

“Some of my Republican friends think Democrats are just purely partisan, just hate this president, and just want to do bad stuff to him. There are some people who feel that way, but there’s a bigger group of people that are just confused. Why does the president do these things when it comes to Russia? Why is he so mean, and why come there’s no consequence? I think we gotta give people a chance to be sad about that and to grieve about that, but then Democrats have to get back to work on real issues because this whole thing is taking up too much time,” he said.

Alice Steward, former communications director for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), saying Van “hit the nail on the head.”

“Democrats are so hell bent on being anti-Trump that they’re becoming anti-American on this. At the end of the day, after this investigation, look you have the head of this probe, head of this investigation telling us, the client here how there was no collusion and no obstruction. Then he’s exonerated. Why can’t the Democrats just acknowledge that fact?“ she said.

Jones argued that he never called Democrats “anti-American,” adding that if they “were being anti-American, they’d be out there in the streets protesting and rioting, saying hey, this is unfair.” Instead, “People are accepting the process, accepting the outcomes,” he said.

“I think unfortunately, they’re not,” Steward said. “That’s why we have Jerry Nadler out there today saying that he wants to bring Barr before his House Judiciary panel, because of what he calls the ‘underhandedness’ of the way this review was done and the way the investigation was conducted.

“They’re not going to take this lying down, and unfortunately, I’ve seen the response by Democrats, and those on the left today. It was a flashback to the election day of 2016. You can almost hear the phone call cancelling the fireworks at the Javits Center today,” she said.

Steward predicted that if Democrats “continue to pursue this line of questioning the integrity of Mueller, who went from hero to zero in the span of 24 hours, and instead of focusing on 2020 and what the Democratic voters want, then it’s going to be not a good outcome for them in 2020, and not to mention the fact the independents who are straddling the fence on this.”

Lemon said the report says it “doesn’t exonerate” Trump.

“Yeah, on the question of coordination, it exonerates him, but it doesn’t exonerate him fully,” Lemon added.

Jones said he hasn’t seen Democrats speaking negatively about Mueller, because most people gave him “a fair shot and are accepting the results.” Furthermore, he said, they have a right to ask more questions.

“I think that where Democrats have a right to ask more questions is where in the Barr report—We’ve never seen the Mueller report. We’ve seen the Barr report. In the Barr report, he says, listen that he’s not exonerated on this one point,” Jones added.

“I don’t see Democrats out there trashing Mueller. I haven’t seen any of that, and I do think people have a right to ask more questions. I agree with you that if Democrats only hop up and down this pogo stick - as I’ve been saying for two years – it is a loser politically. Legally, I don’t know enough about it. Media certainly been interesting, but from a political point of view, hopping up and down this Mueller pogo stick has been a big distraction,” he said.

Jones said Democrats underestimated Trump during the election and then overestimated him once he got in office and also overestimated Mueller.

“There are mistakes that Democrats have made. They underestimated Trump when he was running, and then they overestimated him once he got in office, and overestimated Bob Mueller. The only time that Democrats have done a good job … is during the midterms. They actually worked hard, and the ones who actually won focused on real issues, and so that’s a big message,” he said.

“No, you’re completely right on that point,” Stewart said. “The word impeachment didn’t come up during the midterm election. I think that was a big part in their success and also being able to really reach out to a(n) … array of candidates was also very important, but moving forward, if the dialogue and language we heard out of Democrats today is the way they’re going to move forward, I think we can all agree that’s not a winning formula.”



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