Georgia Democrats are targeting one of their own after state Rep. Vernon Jones endorsed President Donald Trump for reelection on Tuesday.
Jones announced his pick for president in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, praising Trump’s handling of the economy and issues impacting black Americans. The black lawmaker represents one of the most Democratic districts in Georgia covering parts of DeKalb and Rockdale counties.
“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,” Jones continued. “When you look at the unemployment rates among black Americans before the pandemic, they were at historic lows. That’s just a fact.”
Within hours of the interview being published, Democrats in Georgia began condemning Jones. One Democratic party leader from a county Jones represents promised “action” against Jones for siding with the Republican president.
“I am aware that Rep. Vernon Jones has endorsed Donald Trump. This is in no way acceptable. Action will be taken at @DekalbGADems steering committee meeting on Thursday. I will address this more later,” said John Jackson, Democratic chairman for DeKalb County.
I am aware that Rep. Vernon Jones has endorsed Donald Trump. This is in no way acceptable. Action will be taken at @DekalbGADems steering committee meeting on Thursday. I will address this more later.
— John Jackson (@LitManJJ) April 14, 2020
State Sen. Nikema Williams, who chairs the state Democratic Party, released a statement Tuesday slamming Jones for endorsing the “racist” president. The senator called Jones an “embarrassment” to Georgia Democrats.
“[Jones] chose to stand with the racist president who has made an all-out assault on Black Americans, who has tried to rip away American health care, and who has failed our country in its greatest time of need during the most important election in our lifetimes,” Williams said. “Vernon Jones doesn’t speak for Georgians, and neither does Donald Trump — which is why Georgians will send him home in November 2020.”
Vernon Jones is an embarrassment to the Democratic Party and doesn't stand for our values. He made that clear today by choosing to stand with a racist president who has made an all-out assault on Black Americans and has tried to rip away our health care. https://t.co/8jCQXY1hmS
— Nikema Williams (@DPGChair) April 14, 2020
Rep. Josh McLaurin joined the party chorus condemning Jones and Trump, saying Jones “wasn’t a Democrat” and “it’s time for him to go.”
“Everybody already knew Vernon Jones wasn’t a Democrat. We knew when he hurled an anti-trans rant at Councilwoman Koontz,” McLaurin said, referring to an altercation last month between Jones and Stephe Koontz, a trans woman on the Doraville City Council.
“We knew when he repeatedly called human beings ‘illegals’ to rile Democrats up on purpose. He never stood for our values, and it’s time for him to go,” McLaurin added.
Everybody already knew Vernon Jones wasn’t a Democrat.
We knew when he hurled an anti-trans rant at Councilwoman Koontz. We knew when he repeatedly called human beings “illegals” to rile Democrats up on purpose.
He never stood for our values, and it’s time for him to go. #gapol
— Josh McLaurin (@JoshforGeorgia) April 14, 2020
Jones endorsed Trump on the same day that former President Barack Obama threw his support behind his former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden. Obama announced his endorsement in a pre-recorded video released on Tuesday morning.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had endorsed Biden a day earlier after dropping out of the race last week. Reports suggest that Obama pushed Sanders, a self-proclaimed Socialist, to endorse Biden to unite the moderate and radical wings of the party against Trump as soon as possible.
“It’s no great secret Joe that you and I have our differences, and we are not going to paper them over. That’s real,” Sanders said in his endorsement. “But I hope that these task forces will come together, utilizing the best minds and people in your campaign and in my campaign, to work out real solutions to these very, very important problems.”