Democratic Georgia State Lawmaker Steps Down After Endorsing Trump

Written by Martin Walsh

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion

Democratic State Rep. Vernon Jones sent shockwaves earlier this month when he bucked his own party and endorsed President Donald Trump’s re-election bid.

Now, he’s leaving his own party after being attack for doing so.

“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.

Later, Jones announced his decision to step down publicly in a tweet.

“Earlier today, I made the decision to not seek re-election to the Georgia House of Representatives,” Jones tweeted. “I look forward, however, to continuing to serve my community in other ways and doing all I can to re-elect @realDonaldTrump.”

“We will Make America Great Again.”

Roughly two weeks ago, 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 did have anything negative to say about presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, but he did have some harsh comments for his party after Super Tuesday helped Biden and seemed to harm socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

“Some in the party would say they stole it from Bernie last election, and now, they’re wanting to change the rules to hurt him this time,” Jones explained at the time. “What makes the party more intelligent and able to pick the presidential nominee than the people? My powder’s dry. I’m not endorsing. But I am frustrated with the process.”

It also did not take long for his fellow Democrats to attack him for endorsing Trump.

The chairwoman of the state’s Democratic Party, State Sen. Nikema Williams, called Jones an “embarrassment” whose views don’t align with Georgia’s values.

“Never has that been clearer than this moment, when he chose to stand with the racist president who has made an all-out assault on black Americans, who have tried to rip away American health care and who has failed our country in its greatest time of need,” she said.

State Republicans, of course, celebrated the across-the-aisle support.

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The Gwinnett County Republican Party shared Jones’ endorsement on their Facebook page.

“Rep. Jones may not be a Republican, but he clearly understands that we need President Trump in office for another 4 years,” they wrote.

Brandon Phillips, a Republican operative who was chairman of Trump’s campaign in Georgia in 2016, said Jones has been chewing over the decision for years.

“Vernon has been a Trump fan for a while,” Phillips said. “Glad to see him putting Georgia first over party.”