A Georgia Democrat who recently endorsed President Donald Trump announced this week that he intended to resign, though he rescinded that announcement in a subsequent statement.
State Rep. Vernon Jones (D) said on Wednesday that he was leaving “the plantation” after his support of the president sparked anger from fellow Democrats, the Washington Examiner reported. But by Thursday, Jones had walked his resignation back, vowing, “I will not let them win.”
“Turn the lights off”
Jones, who is black, had criticized the Democratic Party repeatedly in a stream of tweets prior to this week’s announcement, saying the party takes the black vote “for granted,” dictates politics by skin color, and cares more about illegal immigrants than American citizens. The comments suggested a political realignment and came just days after Jones endorsed President Trump’s 2020 campaign.
The Democrat soon after signaled that he would step down amid brewing controversy over his endorsement. He told Atlanta’s The Rashad Richey Morning Show that he would remain in the Democratic Party, however, to hold members “accountable” and “root out bigotry,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported.
“Turn the lights off, I have left the plantation,” he added in a statement accompanying his initial resignation announcement, according to the Examiner. “Someone else can occupy that suite. Therefore, I intend not to complete my term effective April 22, 2020.”
But Jones soon reversed course. Citing “the outpour of support” he received from constituents afterward, the state senator announced in a tweet on Thursday that he “will NOT resign.”
Take a look:
Yesterday, I announced my intentions to resign from my office. But shortly thereafter, the outpour of support I received was too great for me to ignore.
I will not allow the Democrats to bully me into submission. I will not let them win.
— Vernon Jones (@RepVernonJones) April 23, 2020
“They can’t control me”
Of course, Jones’ support of Trump still has not been received well by members of the party in his state. Democrats representing two counties in Jones’ district, Dekalb and Rockdale counties, said they would censure him Monday, according to the AJC.
Nikema Williams, chairwoman of the Georgia State Democratic Party, called him an “embarrassment” and said that he “does not stand for our values” after he endorsed Trump, the New York Post reported.
Jones has said that he supports Trump because of his work on criminal justice reform, support of historically black colleges, and achievement of low unemployment rates for black Americans prior to the coronavirus crisis, Fox News reports. His criticism of the Democratic Party and use of the term “plantation” evoke terminology used by black conservatives like Candace Owens, who argue that the party has taken advantage of the black vote.
“I’ve seen more Democrats attack me for my decision to endorse [Donald Trump] than ask me why,” Jones tweeted Tuesday, according to the Examiner. “They’ve used and abused folks in my community for far too long, taking our votes for granted. Black Americans are waking up. An uprising is near.
Despite the backlash they can expect from fellow Democrats, Jones represents a growing number of voters who are capable of looking past partisanship to judge Trump on what he has actually accomplished while in office. Only time will tell, however, if they make their voices heard at the ballot box this November.