One of the most emotive responses to the announcement of Joe Biden becoming the new US president came from CNN political correspondent Van Jones. CNN was the first of the TV networks to call the election for Biden and moments after they did so the anchor, Anderson Cooper, asked Jones for his thoughts.
Jones began to speak, stopped, gathered his thoughts and then said with heavy emotion: “Well it’s easier to be a parent this morning. It’s easier to be a dad this morning. It’s easier to tell your kids, ‘Character matters, being a good person matters,’”
Jones later posted a clip of the moment on Twitter.
Jones then broke down and, with tears running down his face, continued, “And it’s easier for a whole lot of people. If you’re Muslim in this country, you don’t have to worry that the president doesn’t want you here. If you’re an immigrant, you don’t have to worry if the president is happy your baby has been snatched away or send dreamers back for no reason.”
Jones continued, making no attempt to hold his emotions, carried on, “This is vindication for a lot of people who really have suffered. ‘I can’t breathe.” That was not just George Floyd. There were a lot of people who felt like they couldn’t breathe.”
He added: “I just want my sons to look at this. It’s easy to do it the cheap way and get away with stuff, but it comes back around. It comes back around and it’s a good thing for this country. I’m sorry for the people who lost, for them it’s not a good day. But for a whole lot of people it’s a good day.”
Actor Mark Ruffalo was among the thousands on social media who applauded Jones for his words.
NBA star LeBron James also tweeted approvingly. James was active throughout the campaign by leading a voting rights organization called More Than a Vote.
Two years ago Jones was criticised by some on the left for working with the Trump administration on criminal justice reform. In 2018, Trump ratified the First Step Act, a bill which he said includes “reasonable sentencing reforms while keeping dangerous and violent criminals off our streets”.
At the time, Jones told CNN host Dom Lemon: “I think you’ve got to give him some credit. I say the 99 times I don’t agree with the president I’m going to give him hell. But on this one, I’ll give him a salute and applause.”
Jones came to prominence as an adviser to the Obama administration.