LITHONIA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Tuesday Morning, Georgia Rep. Vernon Jones, D-Lithonia, announced that he is endorsing President Donald Trump in his bid for re-election.
Jones told CBS46’s Hayley Mason he believes Trump is the “most action-oriented” President of his lifetime as he vowed his support for a second term for Trump.
“He is the leader our country needed,” Jones wrote in a statement. “The results speak for themselves. With his hand on the wheel, the stock market broke record after record, wages and job growth exploded and unemployment dropped down to record lows. Given his track record, President Trump is best prepared to lead our economy back to record highs after we beat the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jones explained.
BREAKING: This morning, Georgia Rep. Vernon Jones (D-Lithonia) told me he is endorsing Donald Trump for President. Jones sent me this message about why. DeKalb County and Lithonia residents, take a look: pic.twitter.com/sbk29tMiC5— Hayley Mason (@HayleyMasonTV) April 14, 2020
Tuesday, Jones vowed to speak exclusively to CBS46's Hayley Mason in his first television interview after announcing his endorsement of Trump. Wednesday morning, he released this video on Twitter, defending his stance and stating he didn't leave the Democratic Party but that "the Democratic Party left me."
I’m a Georgia State Representative and lifelong Democrat. But in this election, I’ll be casting my vote for @realdonaldtrump. I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The Party left me. #MAGA #KAG #WalkAway pic.twitter.com/BUs4kRZ7JG— Vernon Jones (@RepVernonJones) April 15, 2020
Over the years, Jones has grown to be a controversial political figure, often facing backlash from constituents and colleagues regarding his political and business decisions.
The democratic lawmaker, who represents the mostly-black DeKalb County, stated that he believed Trump has supported historically black colleges and universities more than any other President. Jones, the former CEO of DeKalb County, is a graduate of North Carolina Central University, an HBCU in Durham, North Carolina.
“As a proud HBCU graduate, I support President Trump’s prioritization and provision of record funding for these institutions in doing more for HBCUs than any other occupants of the Oval Office in my lifetime,” Jones said, explaining that HBCUs are “the lifeblood of the African American middle class."
Jones went on to explain express his support of Trump’s criminal justice efforts.
“Thousands of first-time offenders have been able to move on with their lives and begin the path to restoration and positive, productive re-entry into society as a result of President Trump’s leadership with the First Step Act and criminal justice reform,” Jones stated.
“A generation of African American families have been devastated by draconian policies that Joe Biden supported and voted for when he served in the U.S. Senate. A change was needed and President Trump took action,” Jones continued.
Further explaining his support for the sitting President, Jones went on to reference the story of Alice Marie Johnson, a first-time drug offender for whom Trump commuted a life sentence.
“What the media often failed to note was that her pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears when she approached the previous administration,” Jones wrote to Mason.
Jones went on to affirm his support of Trump’s actions on immigration reform.
“I agree with President Trump’s position of protecting the American people from the negatives outcomes that occur as a result of illegal immigration,” Jones stated.
The lawmaker also noted that his beliefs align with Trump’s stances on foreign trade and what Jones referred to as the President’s “compassionate advocacy and proactive policies toward our military and veterans.”
Almost immediately after reports of Jones’ endorsement of Trump, Democrats and constituents alike launched a wave of disapproval and disbelief, lambasting the lawmaker on social media platforms from Facebook to Twitter.
Dozens of constituents questioned Jones commitment to being a Democrat and the values of the party.
Georgia Senator Nikema Williams, D-East Point, who is the chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia called Jones “an embarrassment to the Democratic Party.”
Williams wrote in a statement:
“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 during the most important election in our lifetimes. Vernon Jones doesn’t speak for Georgians, and neither does Donald Trump — which is why Georgians will send him home in November 2020.”
Jones concluded stating, “While I can speak to these reasons and many others, President Trump’s handling of the economy, his unprecedented and unyielding support of HBCUs and his record on criminal justice reform are the main reasons I enthusiastically support his re-election.”