CNN’s Van Jones was not pleased with President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech.
After the speech, Jones said of the toned-down rhetoric, “He was selling sweet-tasting candy with poison in it.”
Jones admitted that Trump was a “master salesman” who was able to take the stories of heroic Americans and use them to sell his rhetoric. But that didn’t change the fact that the substance behind the words was abhorrent.
Specifically, Jones took aim at Trump for recklessly tying immigrants to the violence of gangs. This was particularly “poisonous” because of the current debate surrounding DACA and the Dreamers.
“He implied, and he did it deliberately, that Dreamers are gang members,” Jones said.
“And when you look at the numbers, facts matter,” Jones said.
“Do you want to know what the numbers are?” he continued. “39 kids. This is according to the US government.”
He then added, “It is completely unacceptable to take this issue – which is, we have a moment now where 90 percent of the country agrees that these young people deserve a shot – and to smear these young people.”
Trump’s speech ties immigration to gang violence
During Trump’s speech, the president shared stories of violence, specifically pointing to the gang MS-13.
“For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives,” Trump said in his speech.
He called on Congress to tighten immigration laws and said, “My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.”
These comments come with the shadow of another government shutdown looming as so many Dreamers wait on a razor’s edge with no idea what their future will be.