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The CNN commentator made an appearance at the Environmental Media Association Impact Summit on Thursday at the Montage in Beverly Hills, where he delivered a keynote speech entitled “Where We Went Wrong and How We Can Change the Future.”
Jones, known for his forthright views on the president, has previously made headlines for referring to Trump’s election win as a “white lash.” Since then, he has become a leading figure in the activist movement for political, social and environmental change. He is also the founder of the Dream Corps, an initiative program to create opportunity and success for all and the #LoveArmy, which encourages people to come together, speak up and spread love.
“The Trump presidency is a threat to the children of all species,” Jones told The Hollywood Reporter at the environmental conference. “He is using dirty politics to super-accelerate dirty energy at the worst possible time.” If Trump was not the president, said Jones, “we would have a friend in the White House, not an enemy.”
Jones also addressed journalists covering Trump and being accused of “fake news.” “There is a danger, I think, that reporters wind up feeling defensive and sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time trying to point out that he’s a dishonest character,” Jones said.
“I also think that the actual consequences of his terrible policy ideas are sometimes under-explored,” Jones said of Trump’s time in office. “It’s easy to talk about the crazy tweets,” he said, “but there’s a real cost and consequence to ordinary people, circus aside, that we’re not covering enough.”
While a majority of Jones’ keynote address tackled the necessary reform needed in the country, he also touched on the need for hope and unity in the U.S. He called on people to come together and reconsider how to engage in political arguments.
“American conversation has collapsed below a kindergarten level,” Jones said, adding: “We’ve got to start fighting for people, not against people.”
Jones concluded that the Trump era has brought some positive aspects as well, with a “flowering” of political activity and conversation: “This is beautiful pro-democracy flowering, but I tell you, the trade-off sure is scary.”
The first day of the EMA conference wrapped with a keynote address by Mayor Garcetti and contest led by Jaden Smith. Past EMA honorees include those with environmentally conscious business leaders such as Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Skoll and Jessica Alba.
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