- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 15, 2018

CNN host and former Obama adviser Van Jones says President Trump deserves “a salute and applause” for backing a bipartisan bill for criminal justice reform.

“I think you got to give him some credit,” Mr. Jones told CNN’s Don Lemon Wednesday night. “When Obama was in office, no matter what he did, the right wing just kicked his butt. He did stuff that the conservatives had been begging him to do and then they kicked his butt. So 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.”

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Mr. Trump said earlier Wednesday that he supported the First Step Act, which would improve rehabilitation programs for former inmates and give judges more leeway in sentencing offenders for nonviolent crimes. 

The bill, developed by one of Mr. Trump’s top advisers, son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as a bipartisan group of lawmakers, has already passed the House and stands a better chance at passing the Republican-controlled Senate now with the president’s endorsement. The president said it would “make our communities safer and give former inmates a second chance at life after they have served their time.”

Mr. Jones hailed the move Wednesday, saying it was imperative for Republicans and Democrats to unite in order to “help the people at the bottom.”

“If you can’t put politics aside to help people who are suffering and struggling in prison when there’s a shot to do something on a bipartisan basis, then I think we’ve taken politics too far,” he said. “Every now and again, everybody can win, and maybe we should take ‘yes’ for an answer sometime.”

Mr. Jones repeated the sentiment on Twitter, prompting some backlash by his fellow liberals who argued Mr. Trump should not be trusted.

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