ORLANDO, Florida — Former Georgia Rep. Vernon Jones (R) condemned the Democrat Party, which he left in January, for being unaccepting of “independent-thinking black men” like himself, providing his remarks in an interview with Breitbart News this past weekend.
Jones, speaking during an exclusive interview while attending the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, first recalled what he described as a “frightening” encounter last year with Black Lives Matter protesters and then railed into his former party for being unwelcoming toward him because of his views.
Following former President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last August in D.C., Breitbart News captured protesters — some of whom were affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement — harassing Jones, shouting obscenities such as “you’re a fucking disgrace” and “you house [N-word]” at him as he and a female companion made their way through the street.
Jones said “it was a very frightening experience” and that he “was caught completely off guard.”
“I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, but I’m black. If black lives matter, I’m not a black life? Are you targeting me just because of my choice, my First Amendment freedom of speech, who I decide I want to support? And you’re supposed to be about some kind of social justice? Wait a minute, the height of hypocrisy. No, you’re thugs. You’re criminals,’” Jones said.
He described police encircling him and the woman he was with to protect them during the run-in with the protesters. “They literally put their lives on the line for me, and how they were treating those police officers, including some of them being African American. So this is not about black lives matter,” Jones assessed. “It had nothing to do with this.”
Asked if the experience motivated him to leave the Democrat Party, Jones countered, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me,” adding that the present-day party is unrecognizable compared to the party he had joined 30 years ago.
Jones broke from his party last year to support Trump in the 2020 presidential election and attributed his endorsement largely to Trump’s support for black Americans, citing the administration’s “overwhelming” financial support for historically black colleges and universities, record low unemployment rate for black Americans prior to the mass coronavirus shutdowns, and criminal justice reform in the signing of the First Step Act.
Georgia Democrat Party chair and now-Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA) lambasted Jones when he publicly made his endorsement last April, calling him an “embarrassment” to the Democrat Party for choosing “to stand with the racist president.”
Jones announced in January that he would officially switch to the Republican Party.
Moments ago, I announced that I am officially joining the Republican Party.
Now more than ever, the Republican Party is in desperate need of leaders that know how to fight.
I know how to fight.
— Vernon Jones (@RepVernonJones) January 6, 2021
The Georgia Republican quipped to Breitbart News, “I like to say I brought a grand new party to the grand old party — brand new ideas, brand new opportunities, brand new people.”
“The left, they are horrified by independent-thinking black men like me because we don’t believe that just because we’re black that we should vote for Joe Biden, because we don’t believe just because we’re black we don’t know how to get on the Internet and find out about COVID,” Jones said in reference to a comment Biden made last year when he said in a Breakfast Club interview that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black” and this year during a town hall when Biden suggested minorities do not know how to “get online” to access information about coronavirus.
“Now Joe Biden said those things in ’20 and ’21. Where’s the left? Why is there not an outcry? Can you imagine if President Trump had said something like that? It’s just double standard,” Jones said. “So it was no question. That so-called ‘big tent’ the Democrat Party has, it’s only for folks for the left. Not for independent-thinking blacks or African Americans.”
He added, “This identity politics? It’s not helping us at all.”
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