Speaking at CPAC on Thursday, CNN’s Van Jones gave the conservative movement credit where credit is due when it comes to criminal justice reform, calling the right the “leader on the issue.”
“The conservative movement in this country, unfortunately from my point of view, is now the leader on this issue of reform,” he quipped. “Republican governors are being tough on the dollar, tough on crime, and shrinking prison populations and showing the rest of the country that it can be done.
“Now, my problem is, I now have a conservative movement that for libertarian reasons, for Christian conservative reasons, and for fiscally conservative reasons is actually doing a great job on what should be my issue,” he jokingly continued. “This is supposed to be my issue! You are stealing my issue!”
Watch his remarks below:
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
“Take some dadgum credit for being smart,” he added. “Take some dadgum credit for getting it right.”
Jones’ comments come after the Trump administration achieved major success after Congress passed a sweeping, bipartisan criminal justice reform bill backed by the president in December. The First Step Act was widely praised on both sides of the political aisle, with some even calling it a “Christmas miracle.”
President Trump also received applause from both parties after he commuted the sentence of Alice Johnson, a first-time drug offender who was serving a life sentence in prison with no possibility of parole. The president later invited her to his State of the Union address in February and made sure to give her a shout out.
Watch the moment below:
Pres. Trump highlights criminal justice reform and tells the story of #SOTU guest Alice Johnson, whom he pardoned: "Alice’s story underscores the disparities and unfairness that can exist in criminal sentencing, and the need to remedy this total injustice" https://t.co/5VmRvNW9MT pic.twitter.com/fnWs2x4aaR
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 6, 2019
“When I saw Alice’s beautiful family greet her at the prison gates, hugging and kissing and crying and laughing, I knew I did something right,” he said at the time. “Alice, thank you for reminding us that we always have the power to shape our own destiny.”