Democratic State Rep. Vernon Jones sent shockwaves back in April when he bucked his own party and endorsed President Donald Trump’s re-election bid.
During an interview Wednesday on MSNBC, network host Craig Melvin asked Jones about his decision — and it did not take long for sparks to fly.
Things heated up quickly when Melvin asserted Jones is being paid by the Trump campaign for his support.
After Melvin asked Jones if he is “being compensated” for his support of Trump, Jones fired back.
“Let me be clear. You get paid to shape a liberal narrative. You get paid to attack this president,” Jones told Melvin.
“I don’t get a dime for this president. I don’t get a dime from the campaign. Everything I’ve done has been me and based on my principles. See, that’s the problem. When an African American –”
Jones was cut off by Melvin, who said, “Sir, I did not raise your race.”
“You only ask me that because I don’t fit your narrative. … I don’t want anything from this president,” Jones said.
“It’s what I can do for my country,” he continued, “and you need to accept that many other African-Americans and others support this president because of his policies. And to insult me, to say am I getting paid, that is disgraceful and that’s representative of MSNBC and their narrative to keep blacks silent who happen to support this president.”
Jones then demanded he receive fair treatment from the MSNBC host.
“Why can’t I be like white liberals or other whites, nobody questions if they’re getting paid. … So do you ask Democrats if they getting paid? Are you getting paid by Joe Biden?” he asked Melvin.
Jones went viral back in April when he slammed his own party and announced that he supports Trump.
“I’m sick and tired of me and my family being attacked and harassed by the Democrat Party for putting my country before my party,” he wrote in a press release. “My First Amendment right to freedom of speech is under siege.
“I intend to help the Democratic Party get rid of its bigotry against black people that are independent and conservative. I endorsed the white guy (Donald J. Trump) that let blacks out of jail, and they endorsed the white guy (Joe Biden) that put Blacks in jail,” he said.
“Turn the lights off, I have left the plantation. Someone else can occupy that suite. Therefore, I intend not to complete my term effective April 22, 2020,” he added.
Jones said he was endorsing the president because of his record on helping black people, military veterans, and farmers with his policies.
“It’s very simple to me. President Trump’s handling of the economy, his support for historically black colleges, and his criminal justice initiatives drew me to endorse his campaign,” Jones said.
“This is not about switching parties. There are a lot of African Americans who clearly see and appreciate he’s doing something that’s never been done before,” he added. “When you look at the unemployment rates among black Americans before the pandemic, they were at historic lows. That’s just a fact.”
Jones announced at the time that he was going to step down from office, but has since reversed course and said he will remain in office.