Mary Matalin vs. Van Jones: Demands Jones Retract "Whitelash" Remarks


Republican strategist Mary Matalin goes head-to-head with CNN commentator Van Jones about his comments about Trump voters. Jones said on election day that the "alt-right" represented a "whitelash" against Barack Obama.

Longtime GOP strategist Mary Matalin says to Jones: "You should not be a racial polemecist. You should be a racial reconciler."

Jones replies: "You should be ashamed of your self to say that to my face."

MATALIN: You are not -- that's not the path for progressives. We've all agreed at the outset of this show that the path -- which is Ellison's message, you say, is to go back to the Rust Belt.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Absolutely.

MATALIN: -- and the rednecks. Well, you're not going to get there with climate change and Putin and all the rest of it.

VANDEN HEUVEL: The people in South Carolina who run hotels, who understand -- self-interest. They will be overrun by rivers and water if they don't deal -- deal with climate crisis.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, we're just about out of time. Van, you said the whitelash...

JONES: I said and stand by it. I said that race was a part, and there was a part, that alt-right part, that was a part of the whitelash. And if you listened to the whole quote, you would agree with what I said.

MATALIN: I did listen and again you said what do I tell the kids? What I would tell your kids, I'm a black man in America who went to Yale, who has written books, who served a president and now...

JONES: And ninth generation American, ma'am, and I'm the first one in my family born with all my rights. I'm a ninth generation American. And so we have not escaped because I went to Yale all the problems of this country.

MATALIN: So, you should not be a racial polemecist. You should be a racial reconciler.

JONES: You should be ashamed of your self to say that to my face. I have spent more time in this country...

MATALIN: Say it behind your back would be better?

JONES: Hold on a second, I spent more time than you have trying to be a racial reconciler.

MATALIN: Really? How do you know that? Do you anything about me? Do you know anything about me?

JONES: Apparently you don't know anything about me.

MATALIN: Yes, I do know your daddy, your grandparents were teachers. Your grandfather was a bishop.

JONES: George, this is a problem that we have right now. It is in fact the case there was a populist revolt in this country both Sanders and Trump, but one of them was marbled through with this alt-right stuff. If someone like myself, who is married to a white woman, who has spent my entire life building bridges, can't point out the alt-right whitelash reaction without being accused of being a racial polemecist, we're going to have a big problem.


VANDEN HEUVEL: Have you no sense of decency to say that to a man who has been a healer throughout horrific brutal campaign, he has spoken sanity to power. And to those who...

MATALIN: OK, my deepest apologies. You don't know anything about me. You don't know anything about my healing and I would say there are ways to get to reconciliation different from calling -- focusing on the toxic elements as you did...

JONES: You have to talk about both.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You guys will talk about it outside. We are going to come back with The New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.

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