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Democratic Georgia Lawmaker Promptly Resigns After Facing Backlash For Endorsing President Trump

Democratic Georgia Lawmaker Promptly Resigns After Facing Backlash For Endorsing President Trump
Frank Mullen/WireImage

Georgia state Representative Vernon Jones—dubbed the Kanye West of Candace Owenses by The Root—faced considerable backlash after endorsing President Donald Trump for 2020 on April 14.

The Democrats of DeKalb and Rockdale counties where Jones' state house district is located, announced the following Monday they would censure him.

Rather than face the consequences from his constituents, Jones announced on Wednesday he would not finish his term and would resign effective the same day, April 22.

In a statement sent to the press, Jones wrote:

"Turn the lights off, I have left the plantation."
"Someone else can occupy that suite. Therefore, I intend not to complete my term effective April 22, 2020."
"However, I will remain woke and vigilant in educating and fighting for my people."

Rather than woke, those familiar with Jones labeled him a narcissist.

Jones is a vocal supporter of the National Rifle Association and has received funds from the NRA. State Representative Scott Holcomb—a DeKalb Democrat from a neighboring district—said of Jones' endorsement of Trump:

"They're both incompetent narcissists. This isn't surprising."

In a live phone interview on The Rashad Richey Morning Show, Jones said:

"I don't plan to leave the Democratic Party because somebody's got to be in there to hold them accountable—hold them accountable to how they are treating black people—root out the bigotry."

The volatile interview was short lived.

When Jones tried to end the discussion early, host Richey said live on air:

"Hang up on this clown, please."

The Atlanta Journal Constitution characterized Jones' political career—dating back to the 1990—as one filled with "big ideas, petty squabbles, scandals, charges that haven't stuck, big wins and losses, and always a flair for self-promotion."

That self promotion came under fire in 2008 when Jones used a manipulated photo placing himself next to presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Obama told The Atlanta Journal Constitution at the time:

"I do not endorse him; I have not endorsed him. He put my picture on his literature without asking me."
"I think he may have come to an event of ours a while back. The reason I think I may have met him is I know somebody told me as I was shaking his hand that he had taken pride in voting for George Bush twice."

At the time of his resignation, Jones was facing an ethics complaint alleging—among other things—that he did not actually live in the district he represented. The former representative called the allegations "baseless fake news."

After endorsing Trump, Jones said he was prepared for the backlash, stating:

"A philosopher once said, 'One courageous man in the crowd is a majority'. I've got the courage to express my convictions."
"I believe that Donald Trump is the best person to lead this country going forward."

In his official statement announcing his resignation, Jones wrote:

"I intend to help the Democrat Party get rid of its bigotry against Black people that are independent and conservative."
"I endorsed the White guy (Donald J. Trump) that let Blacks out of jail, and they endorsed the White guy (Joe Biden) that put Blacks in jail."

Jones talked a good game when he first made his endorsement, but quickly folded under the backlash from the people he was supposed to represent. His views found praise in right wing publications like The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller and Breitbart News who labeled Jones a victim of the people who elected him.

But outside of conservative news outlets, Jones found little sympathy.

The Root's coverage of Jones' resignation was titled:

"Black Georgia Democrat Who Endorsed Trump Has Blexited the Building"

There was little love for Jones online either.

Jones' resignation will require a special election to fill his seat. Jones' name will remain on the Democratic primary ballot, but any votes for him will not count.