President Donald J. Trump delivered a speech about prison reform on Friday, specifically thanking CNN anchor Van Jones for joining the group of people at the White House who supported the idea.
“I also want to thank Van Jones, primarily because he constantly says such nice things about me,” Trump said as the audience laughed.
“He did,” Trump continued. “Every once in a while, right? Every once in a while, he did. … Hey, he actually has on occasion. Not too often, but I’ll tell you what, though: it does feel good.”
Van Jones has a complicated relationship with Trump, first describing his election as a “whitelash” and later praising one of Trump’s speeches to Congress as presidential. Jones also pointed out in an interview with rapper Jay-Z that unemployment for black Americans had dropped to a record low in Trump’s presidency but was critical of his comments about African countries.
Trump said during the event that he wanted Jones to be involved in the legislative process to make it a good bill.
“Let’s get it right,” he said. “Will you please make sure? Okay? And if you see something you don’t like, call me.”
Trump joked with Jones during the event that although he believes criminals deserve a second or third chance after prison, he is not sure about a fourth chance.
“America is a nation that believes in second chances and third chances, in some cases. And, I don’t know, I guess even fourth chances,” Trump joked, after addressing Jones. “That’s where I think you and I may differ. You know, we’ll go two or three, but maybe we won’t go that extra length.”
Earlier in the afternoon, Jones moderated a panel on the issue with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Turning Point USA’s communications director, Candace Owens, was also present and posted a picture with Jones on Twitter:
Im willing to speak with any host @CNN except for @jaketapper. He’s too emotional for me.
More to come from me and @VanJones68. It was nice to see some light-hearted banter between him and @realDonaldTrump today. There is love between them. pic.twitter.com/CBmbXtxThj
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) May 18, 2018
Today at the @WhiteHouse, @VanJones68 hosts a moderated discussion on federal prison reform with Jared Kushner, @SecretaryPerry, @TPPF’s Brooke Rollins, @TopekaKSam, & @cut_50’s Jessica Jackson Sloane. pic.twitter.com/T4fPZAcbS5
— Ninio Fetalvo (@Ninio45) May 18, 2018
— Sean Doody (@swdoody) May 18, 2018
— John Koufos (@JGKoufos) May 18, 2018