Left-leaning CNN political analyst Van Jones praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday for what he described as a “very smart” response to billionaire Elon Musk’s tweet expressing potential support for the governor in the 2024 presidential election cycle.
Jones weighed in after CNN aired a clip of DeSantis’ response to a tweet in which Musk said he was leaning toward backing the Florida governor if he runs for president in 2024. The South Africa native also noted that he supported Andrew Yang during the 2020 election but “DeSantis has a better chance of winning.”
“So what I would say, you know, I’m focused on 2022, but with Elon Musk, what I would say is, you know, I welcome support from African-Americans. What can I say?” DeSantis said at a press conference, drawing some laughter from the crowd.
Musk, 50, was born in Pretoria and moved to Canada as a teenager before eventually relocating to the United States. CNN “New Day” co-anchor Brianna Keilar noted that DeSantis’ quip “might have gone over the head of some people,” who did not know about Musk’s South African roots.
Jones agreed and said DeSantis’ response was a savvy method of capitalizing on Musk’s unsolicited endorsement.
“Again, people assume that everybody from Africa is black,” Jones said. “Elon Musk is a white South African who came to the United States, so he’s kind of teasing.”
“But what he’s really doing is keeping that story in the news cycle. This guy is very, very smart about keeping us talking about him, DeSantis,” Jones added. “And when the richest guy in the world says something about you and then you say something funny, it keeps his name in the news cycle. This guy has learned a lot from Donald Trump.”
Mediaite was first to cover Jones’ remarks.
Jones’ praise for DeSantis came as CNN’s new leaders push for a shift toward less partisan coverage on the traditionally liberal-minded network. New CNN President Chris Licht is reportedly monitoring the network’s anchors and personalities to see who can adhere to the change – with those who cannot potentially be dismissed.
An example of CNN’s new direction was reportedly on display this week, when Licht informed top producers that he would prefer if they didn’t refer to Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen as “the big lie,” Mediaite reported.
Meanwhile, Musk’s support for DeSantis is the latest sign of his recent willingness to speak openly about his political views.
Musk predicted a “massive red wave” in the 2022 midterm elections and revealed he had cast his first-ever vote in favor of a Republican candidate while backing Mayra Flores in the special election for Texas’s 34th Congressional District.
The billionaire said he shifted his allegiance to the Republican party due to an increasingly far-left skew in the Democratic Party.
“In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party,” Musk said. “But they have become the party of division & hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican,” Musk said last month.