A Democratic Georgia state lawmaker who was heavily criticized for his endorsement of President Trump will not finish his term in the state legislature.
“Turn the lights off, I have left the plantation,” said Rep. Vernon Jones said in a statement, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Someone else can occupy that suite. Therefore, I intend not to complete my term effective April 22, 2020.”
Jones also said during a radio appearance that he intends to remain in the Democratic party so that he could “hold them accountable.”
In an April 14 interview with the AJC, Jones praised Trump’s handling of the economy and credited him for low African-American unemployment. But that was met almost immediately with condemnation from his party colleagues.
State Sen. Nikema Williams, chair of the Georgia Democratic Party called Jones an “embarrassment.”
Others soon followed suit, saying he was “antithetical” to their beliefs.
The party was reportedly looking to take steps to reprimand Vernon and there were calls for him to be put out of the DeKalb County Democrats, but since he was a state official, that action could not be taken.
Jones was a polarizing figure in Georgia politics in the past and had been accused of sympathizing with Trump. He has also been in the center of controversy several times, including a 2013 grand jury investigation into allegations of bid rigging, calling a fellow Democrat a “chicken sh*t,” accusations of making a transphobic comment against a city council member and most recently a complaint that he doesn’t live in the district he’s supposed to represent.
“I intend to help the Democrat Party get rid of its bigotry against Black people that are independent and conservative,” Jones continued in his resignation statement. “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.”