ATLANTA (AP) – A polarizing Democratic state lawmaker in Georgia broke party ranks on Tuesday to endorse President Donald Trump’s reelection.
State Rep. Vernon Jones, who represents portions of metro Atlanta’s DeKalb and Rockdale counties, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s supporting Trump because of the Republican president’s handling of the economy and his criminal justice reform efforts.
“There are a lot of African Americans who clearly see and appreciate he’s doing something that’s never been done before,” Jones told the newspaper.
Jones previously served as DeKalb County’s CEO and is no stranger to controversy. He weathered allegations of theft as the county’s chief executive, has often clashed with his fellow Democrats on policy issues and was accused last month of hurling transphobic comments at a local official.
Jones’ endorsement of Trump was quickly blasted by other Georgia Democrats. State Sen. Nikema Williams, chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, issued a statement calling Jones an “embarrassment” and said he “does not stand for our values.”
Jones did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment.
Community activist Rhonda Taylor is challenging Jones in the state’s Democratic primary, which is scheduled for June 9.