Democratic Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones went on the attack against his own party Monday evening during a speech at the Republican National Convention, accusing Democrats of wanting to keep Black people on a “mental plantation” and voicing his support for President Trump’s reelection.
Appearing on stage at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., Jones acknowledged it was odd to see a Democrat at the RNC before airing his grievances with his party.
“The Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave their mental plantation,” Jones said. “We are free people with free minds.”
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Jones went on to accuse Democrats of “pandering” to the Black community, while not advancing causes or legislation that benefit communities of color. He contrasted his complaints with his own party with actions the Trump administration has taken, including signing a bill to restore funding to the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities, building the most “inclusive economy” and “working every day to make our communities safer.”
“On issue after issue he destroyed these negative forces that have afflicted the Black community for decades,” he said.
Jones admitted there are issues between police departments and the Black community, which have come to the forefront of the national discussion following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, but argued that Democrats want to “defund” the police and are supporting riots.
“The Democratic Party has become infected with the pandemic of intolerance, bigotry, socialism, anti-law enforcement bias and a dangerous tolerance for people who attack others, destroy property and terrorize our own communities,” he said.
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Jones was elected to his current position in 2016 and represents portions of metro Atlanta’s DeKalb and Rockdale counties. However, he made waves in April when he broke party ranks and endorsed Trump.
The endorsement resulted in swift blowback from fellow state Democrats, many of whom publicly said they were making donations to Rhonda Taylor, a community activist running for Jones’ seat in the state’s Democratic primary set for June 9. State Sen. Nikema Williams, chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, issued a statement calling Jones an “embarrassment.”
As a Georgia state representative, Jones has aligned himself with Republican lawmakers several times. Since his time in office, he has become one of the president’s “key surrogates” in the state.
Although Jones will complete his term — he once said he would resign from his post — he has withdrawn his candidacy for reelection.
Fox News’ Daniella Genovese and the Associated Press contributed to this report.