Van Jones: Trump sent ‘warning shot’ in ‘strong’ address: ‘He’s going after black votes’

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CNN analyst Van Jones said Tuesday night that the previous 24 hours were “a big wake-up call for Democrats,” citing the Iowa caucuses “debacle” and a “strong” State of the Union address in which President Trump went “after black votes.”

“I think the last 24 hours have been a big wake-up call for Democrats,” Jones said. “The Iowa caucus was a debacle. And this was a very strong speech.”

“And it shows what he thinks he needs to do to win. I think I should be very clinical about this. You’re exactly right. He knows he’s got to give a lot of red meat to his base, and he gave it. Religious liberty, abortion, all of it, the military, etc.,” he continued.

“At the same time, warning the Democrats. What he was saying to African Americans can be effective. You may not like it, but he mentioned HBCUs, black colleges have been struggling for a long time, a bunch of them have gone under, he threw a lifeline to them in real life in his budget,” Jones, a former adviser to President Obama, added. “He talked about that. He talked about criminal justice reform. He talked about opportunity zones.”

“That [address] was a warning to us. That was a warning shot across the bow to us Democrats that he’s going after enough black votes to cause us problems,” Jones later concluded. “It’s not just suburban votes, he’s going after black votes.”

The commentary comes after Trump underscored several items relevant to the African American community in his annual address, including record low unemployment, the passage of criminal justice reform and support for historically black colleges and universities.

In the 2016 election, Trump received 8 percent of the black vote, which was a 2-point jump from Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s performance in 2012.

On the Democratic side in 2016, Hillary Clinton received support from 88 percent of African Americans, compared to President Obama’s 93 percent in 2012.

Jones, 51, joined CNN as a political commentator in 2013 for the network’s reboot of the political debate program “Crossfire.”

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Mitt Romney

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