President Trump's second year is "a tale of two presidencies," Van Jones said Saturday in opening his new CNN show, arguing that while "our economy is coming up ... our society is coming apart."
"Things are actually better than many Trump supporters had hoped -- and they are worse than many Trump opponents had feared," he said. "You've got to admit this, you've got to look at it honestly: The economy is actually doing pretty well, so far, under Trump."
"Many had predicted a stock market meltdown if he won. But the reverse actually happened," said Jones, who is also a CNN political commentator. "Trump actually continued Obama's bull market -- and accelerated it. Which means my 401(k) looks pretty amazing right now! And so does yours! I mean, that's just the truth. And unemployment numbers, they were going down under Obama -- they kept dropping, still dropping. The tax cut made a bunch of people happy."
Trump's supporters, Jones said, certainly have a lot to be "both relieved and even excited about."
"But -- but -- but," Jones said, "record numbers of Americans cannot stand this President. They live in daily outrage and fear about what he is doing to us as a country."
Controversies spur 'madness'
"We now have a commander in chief who picks fights with-truth-seeking journalists, with his own FBI agents, with football players, but he somehow bungled a chance to stand up forcefully to Nazi terrorists, and to Russians who are messing up our elections. We have a President who still is demonizing immigrants, who has left hundreds of thousands of American citizens in Puerto Rico right now without electricity -- still!" the CNN host said.
A President "who casually threatens nuclear war, who dismisses the climate crisis, who-wanted an accused pedophile in the US Senate -- and who allegedly gave hush money to a porn-star mistress."
President Trump, he said, "creates so many controversies every day, nobody can even keep up anymore."
The result of this "madness," Jones said, is a divided country in which "half of us can barely speak to the other half, half the time."
'Understanding the whole picture'
Jones said his new twice-monthly show is "designed to pop these bubbles we've all been living inside of so you can get a better insight into how your fellow Americans really feel about stuff."
"You can't understand politics today without understanding the whole picture, from media and culture at the highest levels all the way down to grassroots movements at the deepest levels, from the women of #MeToo to, yes, including these white supremacists who call themselves the 'alt-right,'" he said.
"I'm a big believer," Jones said, "that no one person or party or candidate has all the answers."