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Democratic state lawmaker who endorsed President Trump resigns after attacks from his own party


Rep. Vernon Jones said he'll remain a Democrat and hold his party members 'accountable' for 'how they are treating black people [and] root out the bigotry'

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Democratic Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones resigned Wednesday after attacks by his own party members for endorsing President Donald Trump for a second term last week in the 2020 presidential election.

What are the details?

"Turn the lights off, I have left the plantation," Jones said in a statement, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Someone else can occupy that suite. Therefore, I intend not to complete my term effective April 22, 2020."

Jones' spokesman told the paper he won't seek re-election.

"I don't plan to leave the Democratic Party because somebody's got to be in there to hold them accountable — hold them accountable to how they are treating black people [and] root out the bigotry," Jones said on "The Rashad Richey Morning Show" shortly after announcing his resignation, the Journal-Constitution reported.

The paper said Jones ended the fiery, sometimes combative talk-radio discussion early, which prompted Richey to say, "Hang up on this clown, please."

What's the background?

Jones told the Journal-Constitution in an earlier story that endorsing Trump was an easy decision.

"It's very simple to me," he told the paper. "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 to the Journal-Constitution that "a lot of African Americans ... 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."

In a statement to WGCL-TV, Jones had more praise for Trump regarding criminal justice reform — and criticism for former President Barack Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on the issue.

Attacks from fellow Democrats

Jones' fellow Democrats attacked him for endorsing Trump. The Journal-Constitution said, "Democratic officials tried ... to disown Jones," and chairwoman of the Georgia Democratic Party — state Sen. Nikema Williams — called Jones an "embarrassment."

Fellow Democratic Rep. James Beverly told the paper that "we're not sure what was on Vernon's mind. It's antithetical to what we believe in."

'Sick and tired'

"I'm sick and tired of me and my family being attacked and harassed by the Democrat Party for putting my country before my party," Jones said, according to the Journal-Constitution.

He added to the paper in a statement concerning his resignation that "I intend to help the Democrat Party get rid of its bigotry against black people that are independent and conservative. I endorsed the white guy [Donald Trump] that let blacks out of jail, and they endorsed the white guy [Joe Biden] that put blacks in jail."

State Rep. Vernon Jones resigns

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