Rep. Vernon Jones (D-Ga.) broke with his party on Tuesday, April 14, by becoming the first state-elected Democrat to endorse President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, citing the president’s handling of the economy and support for African American community. 

“It’s very simple to me. President Trump’s handling of the economy, his support for historically black colleges, and his criminal justice initiatives drew me to endorse his campaign,” Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“There are a lot of African Americans who clearly see and appreciate he’s doing something that’s never been done before,” Jones added. “When you look at the unemployment rates among black Americans before the pandemic, they were at historic lows. That’s just a fact.”

Jone was chief executive officer of Dekalb County, Georgia, from 2001 to 2009 and served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1993 to 2001. He presents the state’s 91s House District, a heavily Democratic area.

“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, highlighting President Trump’s criminal justice reforms. “A change was needed and President Trump took action.”

Jones’s decision sparked the ire of his fellow state Democrats, with the chairwoman of the state’s Democratic Party, Sen. Nikema Williams calling him an “embarrassment” whose views don’t align with Georgia values.

Jones said he is not switching parties, but is making the endorsement because he believes President Trump is “the leader our country needed.”

“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,” Jones said. “Given his track record, President Trump is best prepared to lead our economy back to record highs after we beat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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