When Donald Trump issued his executive order on police reform almost two weeks ago, Democrats and progressives nearly universally panned it — with one notable exception . Former Obama advisor and now CNN contributor Van Jones praised it as “progress,” and a step in the right direction. “The executive order is a good thing,” Jones told Inside Politics , “mainly because you saw the support of law enforcement there.”
That didn’t escape the notice of Team Trump — but was that a serendipitous find, or part of a larger plan all along?
The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove plays Paul Harvey in supplying what he says is the rest of the story . Jones was no mere disinterested observer, Grove reports — he was part of the White House’s effort to craft a “sweet spot” on police reform. Jones never disclosed his role to CNN or the audience, however: Jones went on CNN’s Inside Politics with John King and Anderson Cooper 360 to enthusiastically commend Trump’s executive order—even as it was being criticized as cynical and unproductive by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and “delusional” by the Color of Change , an influential racial justice organization that Jones himself co-founded in 2005.
CNN viewers weren’t informed that he had actually attended secret White House meetings with his new friend Jared Kushner , discussing ways to frame the presidential project.
According to a knowledgeable White House source, who expressed satisfaction that there were zero leaks, Jones and California human rights attorney Jessica Jackson, who runs #cut50, a prison-reform group that Jones also founded, actively participated with law enforcement officials and White House staffers to help fashion the order and guide the politics of the discussion to what they considered “the sweet spot” between law enforcement and “the reasonable middle” and “the reasonable left.” Well, it […]