Van Jones and TheBlaze TV’s Tara Setmayer engaged in a heated debate covering a wide array of topics Wednesday night on CNN.
Jones and Setmayer were part of a panel gathered to discuss the top news stories of the day. Anchor Don Lemon kicked off the segment by asking Setmayer, “Should the president have come here to Ferguson, do you believe?”
TheBlaze TV host responded, “No, absolutely not. I don’t think it’s appropriate for the President of the United States to inject himself into a local matter that is still ongoing … there’s an investigation that is still ongoing.”
Setmayer went on to reference Obama’s actions and comments from the Skip Gates incident that happened in Cambridge, Massachusetts during his first term.
Van Jones does not speak until the three-minute mark of the video. However, once called on to respond, Jones went on the attack, slamming Setmayer’s statements as “right wing talking points” while claiming “this president has gone on vacation less” than others.
Talking about Obama’s perceived rush from his press conference to the golf course, Jones also claimed that “he’s gone golfing less than Bush or Clinton.” While Jones did not specify which Bush he was referring to, Setmayer told TheBlaze that he was obviously referring to GWB and not his father.
Setmayer contended Jones’ statement, reminding the audience that President Bush stopped playing golf early in his first term. Bush is famous for saying that he quit the game because it would be “inappropriate” for people to see the president on the golf course while the men and women of our military were fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the Obama Golf Counter website, the president has played more than 184 rounds of golf in under six years. George Bush played fewer than 25 rounds of golf during his two terms in office.
However, it should be noted that President Bush has said he supports Obama’s golf habit, telling the Golf Channel’s Jimmy Roberts, “I know the pressures of the job. And to be able to get outside and play golf with some of your pals is important for the president.”
Don Lemon quizzed Jones on the “optics” of the president remaining on vacation while England’s David Cameron cancelled his trip to get back to his country.
Jones stood his ground stating, “Presidents are human beings,” adding, “I worked in the White House. You have to rest. You have to sleep. You are a human being.”
Don Lemon asked Tara Setmayer why she was laughing as Jones delivered his answer. She responded, “Because I think that’s an asinine excuse, OK?”
“Excuse?” bristled Jones.
“Yes — he’s the President of the United States. I’m sorry world events are getting in the way of his tee times in Martha’s Vineyard,” Setmayer fired back.
The conversation appeared to get out of control with all of the panelists talking over each other.
Lemon attempted to reel everyone back in and focus the discussion. He also appeared to side with the feeling that the president staying on vacation did not look good saying, “The White House seems to be tone deaf.”
TheBlaze reached out to Van Jones for clarification on his comments. He has not responded.
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.