The View's Ana Navarro scolded CNN contributor Van Jones for taking "smiling pictures" with conservative Candace Owens.
"People in the black community don't trust you anymore," the ABC show's co-host Sunny Hostin told Jones, who has reached across the political aisle over the past four years to reform America's prisons. He even worked with conservatives under the Trump administration to achieve criminal justice goals.
Hostin claimed on Friday's episode that Jones is an "opportunist" and "chameleon" who "provided racial coverage" for former President Donald Trump.
Firing back at the charges, Jones maintained that her accusations aren't true, adding that his acknowledgment of Trump's contributions was accompanied by his concession of the "horrific stuff" done by the twice-impeached president. Jones blamed social media for not showing his statements with context.
"My entire life has been about bringing people together to solve tough problems for the people at the bottom who don't have anything," Jones continued, arguing that reducing prison sentences for convicted criminals necessitated his collaboration with Republicans. "I'm going to keep doing it, whoever's in the White House," he promised.
That's when an unconvinced Navarro ranted, questioning how his "evolution" happened. "How did you go from being this very principled critic of the Trump administration—as I was—to all of a sudden being in the White House celebrating with them and posing for pictures with Candace Owens? Can you explain that evolution to people who are puzzled by it?" she pressed.
Jones denied this metamorphosis. "When Obama was in office I was working with Newt Gingrich, I was working with Republicans then, to get people out of prison. When you are in federal prison, you don’t get to vote, you don't get to be on Twitter. You have no opportunity to impact what is going on," he fired back, noting that his refusal to work with Trump would have "been about me" rather than the incarcerated. Jones insisted that he was "willing to go in there and do it with every president to get people home from prison."
"But you took smiling pictures with Candace Owens," Navarro rebutted, referring to the conservative leader of "BLEXIT," the black exit from the Democratic Party. "Do you not regret that? Do you not see that's giving her legitimacy?" she asked.
Hostin even retweeted an image of Jones posing with the right-wing figure as she captioned her reaction with an addled emoji hours after major news outlets called the 2020 presidential election for then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
With the time for the segment expired, Friday moderator Joy Behar interjected the feud. "You two are going to have to take it outside," Behar jested before the show cut to commercials.
A tweet later posted by Owens herself responded to the exchange: "The radical Left wants to unite America by making it a criminal act to smile in pictures with conservatives. Utterly psychopathic."
She explained that the photo in question originated from an event in 2018 attended by both Republicans and Democrats for the First Step Act. "The women of #TheView are taking their obsession with me to new heights," Owens concluded.
Jones championed the creation and passage of the First Step Act signed into law that same year. The legislation focuses on reducing recidivism, decreasing the prison population, improving conditions for women, and offering ways forward for non-violent offenders.