This past Saturday, May 5, former White House “green jobs” czar Van Jones spoke to Chicagoans attending the Green Festival. In the course of discussing the need for a greener economy, and claiming that opponents of big government and the EPA want babies to die in order to create jobs, Jones addressed his time spent in the Obama White House:
As I was teaching last year at Princeton, I realized something, that I am in a special category of one. I am the only person in the Obama era; that was a grassroots outsider that became a White House insider, and then was a grassroots outsider again… And I realized that I might have something to say…and maybe that’s why our opponents were so interested in shutting me up…Surprise! I’m Back! …Don’t ever let somebody like me in the White House, and then insist that I come back out here with all of y’all, because now, we can make this thing work.
I caught up with Jones afterwards, and asked him specifically what he meant when he said “someone like him.”
Jones sarcastically told me he was a “great guy.”
Unsatisfied with his answer, following his book signing, I approached Jones again for further comments. He ignored my questions while hiding behind four staffers and event staff, along with other event management. The press contact for the event, Erin Brunner of Organicworks PR, grabbed my wrist during the exchange and began to push me as I walked backwards, attempting to get a response from Jones.
Brunner, who initially issued my press credential from Green Festival, allowing me to cover the event, then told me I had to surrender my credential and I would not be allowed back in. When I asked her why, she said it was because I had “accosted” one of their speakers.
Two weeks ago at the New York Green Festivals event, Jesse Watters of Fox News was also kicked out after questioning Jones.
What is it about Van Jones that Green Festivals feels such a need to protect him from a persistent press corps, when he makes such incendiary comments to audiences at their events?
After being escorted out of the expo hall by Green Festivals’ national event directors, Hans Wohlgefahrt and Tad Frank, I asked Frank if there was a policy that media was not allowed to question Van Jones. Frank told me, “Everyone is free to ask whatever they want.”
But if everyone was free to ask whatever he or she wanted, why wasn’t I, or Jesse Watters for that matter?
Jones’s comments are striking, and eerie. Why shouldn’t someone like him be allowed in the White House? What kind of person is Van Jones, and why not? What would someone like him do, with months of access inside the White House, and what would they do following that period, with the insight or information they obtained there during that time ?
Jones made no attempt to distance himself from President Obama. In fact, on many occasions, Jones told the audience in Chicago that Obama was the right president to get what they need done, and that it was the movement that have failed to take advantage of the opportunity, not Obama himself.
“Great guys” aren’t the kind of guys who warn you about spending time inside the White House, and then boast about their newfound ability to run covert, vague organizing missions.
At the very least, Jones’s comments are an admission that his time spent in the White House was not to serve the people honorably, but to take advantage of the special privilege to serve his own self interest and, quite possibly, that of others who also harbor extreme ill will towards the United States.