Democratic Georgia lawmaker Rep. Vernon Jones, who endorsed President Trump for reelection last month, said on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday that “I put my country before my party and I wish more people would do that.”
Two days before, Jones, D-Lithonia, tweeted, “As a lifelong Democrat and black man, it pains me to admit this. But I’ve come to a realization: the Democrat Party doesn’t give a damn about us. They’ve become more concerned about putting illegals first and Americans last.”
Jones made waves when he endorsed Trump, saying in a video that he’s backing the Republican incumbent because of Trump’s support for criminal justice reform and historically black colleges and universities.
The endorsement resulted in swift blowback from fellow state Democrats, many of whom publicly said they would donate to Rhonda Taylor, a community activist running for Jones’ seat in the state’s June 9 Democratic primary. State Sen. Nikema Williams, chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, issued a statement calling Jones an “embarrassment.”
“It’s obvious that the Democratic Party does not care about the black vote,” Jones said on Sunday. “They have taken it for granted and they certainly do not have room under that so-called big tent for those of us who are black and independent with conservative leanings.”
He added that he has been “very disappointed” with the Democrat party.
“They don’t take our vote as for value,” Jones said. “They think it will just be there for them. No longer are we going to be a part of that.”
At the end of last month, Jones reversed an initial decision to step down from office after facing backlash for his endorsement of President Trump for reelection.
As a lifelong Democrat and black man, it pains me to admit this.
But I’ve come to a realization: the Democrat Party doesn’t give a damn about us.
They’ve become more concerned about putting illegals first and Americans last. pic.twitter.com/slIYNvaqTk
— Vernon Jones (@RepVernonJones) May 1, 2020
He tweeted that shortly after he announced his intentions to resign from office, “the outpour[sic] of support I received was too great for me to ignore. I will not allow the Democrats to bully me into submission. I will not let them win. I will NOT resign.”
When asked Sunday how he came to the realization he wanted to endorse Trump, Jones said, “This president has shown two great things: one [is] leadership, two [is] results.”
“What he has done for the African-American community is unparalleled to any president in modern times and so I put my party last,” he continued. “I put my country before my party and I wish more people would do that. This country can get many other things accomplished and done for its people, for the American people.”
Jones then touted what he views as some of Trump’s accomplishments, including “helping historical black colleges in which I attended, North Carolina Central University, as well as when you look at what he has done for the economy in creating jobs.”
He also brought up the sweeping criminal justice reform bill, which Trump signed in December 2018.
“The criminal justice reform act, which Joe Biden helped craft that bill that literally incarcerated masses of black people and to even think that a black person would want to vote for Joe Biden, it just doesn’t make sense,” Jones said.
“Donald Trump has a proven record of getting things done period, for all Americans, and certainly what he has done for the African-American community again is just amazing,” Jones said. “We need to reelect him. I will do everything I can to help him get reelected.”
“If I have to take the hits for it, fine,” he added.
Fox News’ Sam Dorman, Adam Shaw and Judson Berger contributed to this report.
Author: Talia Kaplan