The election of Joseph R. Biden Jr. sparked powerful reactions across the country, but few resonate as deeply as the emotional response to the air to President Trump’s defeat by CNN contributor Van Jones – who invoked George Floyd’s final words to express his sense of relief and vindication.
“‘I can’t breathe’ – it wasn’t just George Floyd, it was a lot of people who felt like they couldn’t breathe,” said Mr. Jones, a former Obama administration official, burst into tears moments after the network called the race for Mr. Biden.
“You spend a lot of your life energy trying to hold it together,” added Mr. Jones, who is black. “And it’s a big deal for us just to be able to get some peace and have a chance to reset.”
Mr Jones said Mr Trump made the manifestation of “racism” openly acceptable and feared for the safety of his family under his presidency.
“And it’s easier for a lot of people,” after Mr. Trump was defeated, he said. “If you’re a Muslim in this country, you don’t have to worry that the president doesn’t want you here. If you are an immigrant, you don’t have to worry if the president is going to be happy about babies being abducted. “
As thousands of people cheered, danced and honked their horns in New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta, Mr. Jones summed up the sentiments of many of Trump’s critics, overwhelmed with relief that Mr. Trump had been defeated.
“It’s a justification for a lot of people who have really suffered,” he said, as he began to sob. “It’s a good day for this county. I’m sorry for the people who lost, but for the most part it’s a good day. “
Mr. Jones’ opinion has not been universally shared, not even on the CNN set.
Former Rep. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a Republican, questioned calling the race in his home state until all provisional ballots were counted, saying the race was ” not finished ”.