CNN’s Van Jones slammed political commentary site The Daily Beast after the latter published an article claiming Jones had been secretly advising Trump on his recent executive order on police reform.
The almost 4000-word article, titled “CNN’s Van Jones Secretly Helped Craft the Weak Trump Police Reform He Praised On TV”, alleged that Jones had “participated in secret discussions” in the White House with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, to discuss ways to frame the presidential order.
EXCLUSIVE: CNN's Van Jones helped craft the Trump administration's weak, weak police reform bill. Then he went on TV to praise it. https://t.co/Xa24iqRWR6— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) June 29, 2020
Published Sunday evening, the report stated that California human rights attorney Jessica Jackson, who runs #cut50, a prison reform group that Jones founded, was also involved in fashioning the reforms.
The article also quoted a number of Jones critics, including actor Jeffrey Wright, who tweeted, “Smells like Van Jones helped Kushner craft this exec order, so he touts it.”
“Jones’ job appears to be making Republican policy palatable to black people," wrote Stephen A. Crockett Jr, a columnist for The Root, adding, "so expect him to call this new proposal progress.”
Smells like Van Jones helped Kushner craft this exec order, so he touts it. 'You can't polish this turd,' he said of Trump's delinquency, yet here he is with boot black & rag. As much as Fauci explains the science, Trump refuses to wear a mask. Progress comes when he is removed. https://t.co/RfzSHv0x0o— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) June 17, 2020
The Daily Beast said that they had contacted CNN, who would not comment on the network’s failure to disclose Jones’ involvement in shaping the order.
Although Jones has praised Trump’s executive order, which aims to ban chokeholds and provide deescalation training for police, describing it as a “good thing”, he denies involvement in crafting the policy.
Jones, 51, who hosts “The Van Jones Show” on CNN, tweeted that the Daily Beast article is untrue and based on “false, sensational charges.”
“I haven’t even visited DC since before the pandemic started — let alone been inside the White House," Jones asserted.
“I have never been included in any meetings about police reform (not by phone, zoom, nada). I didn’t know what was in the EO (Executive Order) until the day it was released. When I meet with folks at The White House, I say so during relevant coverage on-air — as I did all through 2018, when I worked on criminal justice reform. The accusation that I attended White House meetings on police reform but failed to disclose them is doubly false, and it should be corrected. I will continue to openly work across the aisle to help those trapped in the justice system. We need more of that these days, not less,” he is quoted as saying.
(1/5) This @TheDailyBeast article is based on false, sensational charges -- apparently designed to get clicks, shares, and likes. I haven’t even visited DC since before the pandemic started — let alone been inside the White House.— Van Jones (@VanJones68) June 29, 2020
(3/5) When I meet with folks at The White House, I say so during relevant coverage on-air — as I did all through 2018, when I worked on criminal justice reform.— Van Jones (@VanJones68) June 29, 2020
(5/5) I will continue to openly work across the aisle to help those trapped in the justice system. We need more of that these days, not less.— Van Jones (@VanJones68) June 29, 2020
The Daily Beast updated the article on Monday to respond to Jones' tweets, saying that a White House source with knowledge of the EO said that Jones, Jackson and the Reform Alliance had been “working with a lot of families of people who had been killed by police officers” and that they worked very closely with them on the Executive Order.
The source said Jones and Jackson were helpful in guiding them to a “sweet spot” between law enforcement and “the reasonable middle” and “the reasonable left.”
At the bottom of the article The Daily Beast said that the phrase “White House Meetings” has been replaced with “discussions” to account for Jones’ denial.