CNN pundit Van Jones got into a testy exchange with a reporter who suggested his use of the term “whitelash” is tied with a sense of “sore loser syndrome.”
The former White House adviser took reporters’ questions before his Tuesday keynote speech at the Broadbent Institute’s annual gala in Toronto when Joe Warmington began talking about president-elect Donald Trump.
Their introduction got off to a rocky start:
Warmington: Mr. Jones, I wanted to ask you about, you talked about the rhetoric, about the Nazi party, all these types of things and yet Mr. Trump did win the election and he won it fairly handily …
Trump won the presidency with a majority in the Electoral College. But Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with a two-million lead, according to the Cook Political Report.
Warmington revised his wording before cutting Jones off with a reference to the civil war.
Warmington: And well according to the electoral college he won it fairly, well, he won the election. And I wondered, you use the word “whitelash” which I think a lot of people felt was a race term …
Jones: They only felt it was a racially-based term because it was a racially-based term and the reason I knew …
Warmington: Because of the civil war…
Jones explained, “The reason I used the term whitelash is because you have people who want to say that the working class is endorsing Trump and that is not fair because black workers and Latino workers and Native American workers and Asian workers have all rejected Trump in big, big numbers. So there is both a race and a class element to this phenomenon.”
Earlier, Jones clarified his use of “whitelash” is inclusive of a growing negative sentiment toward Washington and “pollsters that think they know everything.”
He added the election day results also showed a “certain part of our country against multiculturalism.”
But the Toronto Sun reporter wasn’t satisfied with the response. He continued, saying there were ethnic minorities who did vote for Trump — which Jones shut down with an actual question for Warmington.
Warmington: But there were many people of the races that you mentioned, the Americans you mentioned, that did vote for Mr. Trump. And I wonder if there’s not a little bit of the sore loser syndrome that’s going with this. I understand your feelings and I respect you but when you talk about this—”
Jones: Are you giving a speech or asking a question?
According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos review of U.S. election day polling data, Trump won the election with the lowest level of support from minority voters in at least the past 40 years. Eight per cent of black voters, 28 per cent of Latino, and 27 per cent of Asian-Americans voted for Trump.
Warmington later published a column about Jones, calling him a sore loser. He criticized the former Washington insider’s repeated warnings to not ignore the spate of hate-fuelled incidents — especially documented gatherings of emboldened white supremacists.
The columnist defended Trump’s culpability, saying “it’s disgraceful to link those wackos” to the president-elect.
“He’s showing why so many of those who are tired of being called racist and Nazis made this happen in the first place,” Warmington wrote.
Watch the full press conference below: