State Rep. Vernon Jones bucked his party Tuesday and endorsed President Donald Trump, making him the first state elected Democratic official in Georgia to back the Republican’s bid for a second term.
The lawmaker drew a backlash from Democrats who accused him of betrayal at a time when state and national figures were rallying around former Vice President Joe Biden. Top House Democrats responded by endorsing Jones’ primary challenger, while others cast him as a narcissist.
Long a polarizing figure in Georgia politics, Jones told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he views Trump as a transformative president whose policies have helped African American voters, military veterans and farmers.
“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,” said Jones, who added that he had no immediate plans to switch parties.
“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.”
State Democratic officials tried Tuesday to disown Jones, a former chief executive of DeKalb County, Georgia’s biggest Democratic stronghold. State Sen. Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the state party, called him an “embarrassment” who doesn’t 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 has tried to rip away American health care and who has failed our country in its greatest time of need,” she said….