LITHONIA, Ga. - A polarizing Democratic state lawmaker in Georgia says that he is resigning after he broke party ranks to endorse President Donald Trump’s reelection.
State Rep. Vernon Jones said he resigning from the House of Representatives to stop harassment.
State Rep. Vernon Jones, who represents parts of DeKalb and Rockdale counties, said that he will not complete his current term because was "sick and tired of me and my family being attacked and harassed by the Democratic Party."
Earlier in April, Jones said that he was 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 said at the time.
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.”
On Wednesday, the Georgia lawmaker responded, saying that he was an "independent thinking " and that his "first amendment right to freedom of speech is under seige."
"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 said. "Turn the lights off, I have left the plantation. Someone else can occupy that suite."
Jones said his resignation was effective immediately.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.