Democrat State Representative In Georgia Switches Sides, Endorses Trump Over Biden

Written by Ann Brown
Democrat state Rep. Vernon Jones of Georgia has switched sides. He announced he is endorsing Trump over Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Vernon Jones speaks to supporters as he announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, July 21, 2007 in Marietta, Ga. Jones, who considers himself a “conservative Democrat,” ran for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss. (AP Photo/Todd Bennett)

Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones has shocked his fellow Democrats by announcing his endorsement of Donald Trump for the 2020 elections, passing over the Democratic presidential candidate for the incumbent. This has made Jones the first state elected Democratic official in Georgia to back Trump’s bid for a second term.

Of course, this decision drew a backlash from Democrats who accused Jones of betraying his party. 

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,” Jones said. “President Trump’s handling of the economy, his support for historically Black colleges and his criminal justice initiatives drew me to endorse his campaign.”

Despite endorsing Trump, Jones said he did not plan to switch to the Republican party. 

“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.”

Jones has publicly disavowed Democrat and former Vice President Joe Biden.

“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,” Jones said in a statement to CBS 46. “A change was needed and President Trump took action.”

In lieu of doing an interview with Georgia TV journalist Hayley Mason, Jones decided to post a video endorsing Trump. Mason posted the video on Twitter.

Georgia State Sen. Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the state party, said Jones is 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,” Williams said.

State Republicans are overjoyed with Jones’ endorsement of Trump, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. It “offers Trump’s campaign an African-American surrogate who has won the top office in one of Georgia’s most populous — and left-leaning — countries.” (Trump captured just 16 percent of the vote in DeKalb in 2016.

Jones’ political career has been plagued by controversy since it began in the early 1990s in the Georgia House. He later won the first of two terms as DeKalb County’s top executive in 2000. In fact, he was the first African-American candidate elected as the county’s CEO.

He faced an accusation of rape in 2005 that he said was a consensual act between three partners. Ultimately, no charges were filed. And in 2013, a special grand jury recommended an investigation into allegations against Jones for bid-rigging and theft when he was DeKalb CEO. The district attorney at the time said the case lacked evidence.

Jones also made unsuccessful runs for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, and DeKalb sheriff before winning a DeKalb-based House seat which returned him to the state Capitol four years ago. 

In March 2020, a city councilwoman accused Jones of making transphobic comments towards her during a discussion at the state Capitol. According to Stephe Koontz, Georgia’s only transgender elected official, Jones ranted “about how LGBTQ rights are not civil rights,” The Hill reported.

“You might be a man one day and a woman the next, I don’t even know who you are,” Koontz quoted Jones as saying.

This latest move by Jones really isn’t a surprise to those who have followed his political career.

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In a 2008 interview with the Savannah Morning News, Jones described himself as an “independent thinker and a conservative Democrat who supports faith-based initiatives, tough immigration laws, and fiscal responsibility.”

He reportedly kept pictures of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in his office, voted twice for former President George W. Bush and then “enthusiastically embraced former President Obama’s White House bid,” The Hill reported.

Jones’s backing of Trump came the same day that Obama endorsed Biden.