Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones (D) split from his party on Tuesday and endorsed President Donald Trump’s reelection bid, saying he approves of the president’s handling of the economy and his support for historically black colleges.
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jones stated he would not switch parties, but offered praise for many of President Trump’s policies.
“It’s very simple to me,” Jones told the newspaper. “President Trump’s handling of the economy, his support for historically black colleges and his criminal justice initiatives drew me to endorse his campaign.” He added:
There are a lot of African Americans who clearly see and appreciate he’s doing something that’s never been done before. When you look at the unemployment rates among black Americans before the pandemic, they were at historic lows. That’s just a fact.
I’m a Georgia State Representative and lifelong Democrat. But in this election, I’ll be casting my vote for @realdonaldtrump.
— Vernon Jones (@RepVernonJones) April 15, 2020
Jones further explained his decision in a video shared to his Twitter account.
“I’m a Georgia State Representative and lifelong Democrat,” Jones wrote. “But in this election, I’ll be casting my vote for @realdonaldtrump.”
“I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The Party left me,” Jones added, before including the hashtags #MAGA, #KAG, and #WalkAway.
“One would say, ‘Why would a black man support Donald Trump?’ Well, I would reverse that. Why wouldn’t a black man endorse Donald Trump,” Jones stated in the video.
Isn’t he the president that ushered in the lowest unemployment rate for blacks before the pandemic crisis? Isn’t he the president that signed the Criminal Justice Reform Act? And finally, isn’t he the president that overwhelmingly supported, financially, historical black colleges in which I am a proud graduate of North Carolina Central University. I one hundred percent support Donald Trump and I want to call on every patriot, every great American out there across this country, regardless of your race or whatever, gender or orientation, I want to ask all of you, young people, seniors, all in between, join me in reelecting Donald J. Trump as the president, our next president, our reelected president of the United States.
In a statement to CBS 46 news, Jones said the African American community has been “devastated” by policies Joe Biden supported.
“A generation of African American families have been devastated by draconian policies that Joe Biden supported and voted for when he served in the U.S. Senate,” Jones said in a statement to CBS 46. “A change was needed and President Trump took action.”
BREAKING: This morning, Georgia Rep. Vernon Jones (D-Lithonia) told me he is endorsing Donald Trump for President. Jones sent me this message about why. DeKalb County and Lithonia residents, take a look: pic.twitter.com/sbk29tMiC5
— Hayley Mason (@HayleyMasonTV) April 14, 2020
Georgia Democrat Party Chairwoman Nikema Williams has since blasted Jones in a statement, calling him an “embarassment” and someone who does “not stand for our values.”
Vernon Jones is an embarrassment to the Democratic Party and does not stand for our 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 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. Vernon Jones doesn’t speak for Georgians, and neither does Donald Trump — which is why Georgians will send him home in November 2020.
The Gwinnett County Republican Party praised Jones and his 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,” the group wrote.