Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones, (D-Lithonia) went against the Democratic party line Tuesday and formally endorsed President Donald J. Trump, backing the incumbent for his second term. Jones represents Georgia District 91. He is the first elected Democrat in Georgia to back Trump.
Jones has been a fan of Trump for quite some time. He has made overtures on social media touting Trump’s handling of African-American unemployment.
“President Trump’s handling of the economy, his support for HBCU’s and his criminal justice initiatives drew me to endorse Trump,” said Jones. “There are a lot of African Americans who clearly see and appreciate he’s doing something that’s never been done before,” Jones said. “When you look at the unemployment rates among black Americans before the pandemic, they were at historic lows. That’s just a fact.”
Conservatives say Jones’s endorsement of Trump signals an awakening in the African-American community and maybe the key that unlocks victory for Trump in November.
Senator Tim Scott in February predicted a significant uptick in support from the black community for Trump come Election Day.
“President Trump will see a 50 percent increase in his African-American support,” Scott predicted. “It will go from 8 percent in 2016 to a minimum of 12 percent in 2020. He may even get to 15 percent of the African American vote, and that is game over.”
Predicably, Jones’s declaration drew the ire of Democrats on the state and national levels.
“I am aware that Rep. Vernon Jones has endorsed Donald Trump,” said John Jackson via twitter. “This is in no way acceptable. Action will be taken at @DekalbGADems steering committee meeting on Thursday. I will address this more later.”
“We’re not sure what was on Vernon’s mind. It’s antithetical to what we believe in,” said state Rep. James Beverly, D-Macon, the chairman of the party’s House caucus. “We can’t support an ideology that’s diametrically opposed to who we are and what we value.”
State Senator Nikema Williams, Chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party, said Tuesday that Jones is an “embarrassment” and does not reflect Georgia 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.
Shelly Hutchinson, D-Snellville, represents House District 107. She said on Twitter, “It’s no surprise to see one hateful person endorse another. I’m embarrassed to call Vernon a colleague and hope his time in the General Assembly comes to an end after this election. Vernon Jones is trending because he is an embarrassment and endorsed Donald Trump. Let me be very clear: I would much rather stand with President Obama than with Vernon Jones.”