Written and Submitted By State Representative Vernon Jones (D-Lithonia)
Since that day in May when I announced I would support Donald Trump for president, my motives have been questioned, my integrity assailed and even my intelligence challenged. That is okay. I am a lifelong Democrat, but I am also a Black man, the son of a World War II veteran and a proud American.
In recent weeks, there have been absurd calls to defund and disband police departments across the country by Democrats in response to the unjust murder of George Floyd. These are extreme calls that will only lead to more pain and suffering in our most vulnerable communities.
As the former chief executive officer of DeKalb County, Georgia, I have had to manage one of the largest police departments in the state of Georgia. I have had the experience of dealing with police shootings and comforting the families of victims. But, at the same time, I have also had the experience of losing two black police officers. I have had to comfort their families in the middle of the night and console their young children. I know firsthand when others are running away from chaos, police officers are running into the fight to protect and serve.
President Trump was sickened by the death of George Floyd and is fully committed to ensuring that he will not have died in vain. The president has taken a commonsense approach to heal our nation. President Trump made it clear that he will protect all Americans, serve as an ally to peaceful protestors and always uphold law and order.
However, the protestors were determined to sow chaos and destruction all in the name of racial equality. Listen, during my first legislative session in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1993, I filed the first bill in my career to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag. But, I also understand the preservation of our history, including the good and the bad, and still, I bow to no one in my advocacy for the Black community.
But unlike other Washington politicians, this president actually backed up his words with actions. He signed an executive order on police reform, taking steps to build a better bridge between law enforcement men and women and their communities.
This landmark executive order encourages police to implement best practices to protect the people they serve. It sets the highest professional standards for law enforcement officers, while promoting peace and equality for all Americans. Under the order, the Trump administration will now prioritize federal grants from the U.S. Department of Justice to police departments that meet these high standards. Additionally, the order pushes forward the creation of a national database of police misconduct. This database will root out bad cops and help create accountability between police agencies.
In delivering his remarks last week, President Trump accomplished more in 40 minutes than Joe Biden has in 40 plus years. Where were Joe Biden and the previous administration for eight years in the White House on this issue? I will tell you: they were absent in unifying this country.
The Black unemployment rate under former Vice President Biden and the previous administration averaged a horrific 12.8 percent. The number of Black Americans in poverty barely fell during Biden’s administration, going down by just 145,000 over eight years.
By comparison, more than double that number, 350,000 Black Americans, were lifted out of poverty during just the first two years of the Trump administration.
Even before that, where was Biden for 36 years in the U.S. Senate on this issue? I will tell you: he was too busy shouting “my children are going to grow up in a jungle, the jungle being a racial jungle.” That racial jungle he was referring to includes Black and brown Americans like me. Right now, President Trump is being defined as a racist by the media, when in reality Joe Biden is the full-blooded bigot.
Do not take my word for it, take then-Senator Joe Biden’s own words for it: “The truth is, every major crime bill since 1976 that’s come out of this Congress, every minor crime bill, has had the name of the Democratic senator from the State of Delaware: Joe Biden.” Now that Joe Biden is running for president in a “woke” Democratic Party in 2020, he is attempting to sweep his racist legacy under the rug. We cannot let him.
Joe Biden is directly responsible for the mass incarceration policies of the 1980s and 1990s, which decimated the Black community. Biden authored the 1994 Crime Bill, which imposed mandatory minimum sentences, disproportionately putting hundreds of thousands of young Black men in prison.
President Trump has worked to undo injustices within our criminal justice system. He signed the Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act, or the “First Step Act,” which is the first major reform to our criminal justice system in a decade. Thanks to the president’s leadership on this issue, our criminal justice system is fairer and our communities are safer.
As Black Americans, we need to be aware of the clear choice in front of us. Joe Biden has betrayed Black Americans throughout his career in Washington, D.C. President Trump has spent his 3.5 years in office fighting to improve the lives of Black Americans.
We cannot be tricked again. Democrats like Biden will conveniently appear in our neighborhoods and pander to us from now until November. Why? Because they only care about Black people during election years.
The leadership of Joe Biden and President Donald Trump is being revealed for us all to see. Joe Biden is divisive and ineffective. Meanwhile, President Trump is unifying, pragmatic and fearless.
My 90-year-old mother passed away in April 2020. I learned my independent views from her.
I am black, and I am a Democrat, but, “I ain’t” voting for Joe Biden this November.
Representative Vernon Jones represents the citizens of District 91, which includes portions of DeKalb and Rockdale counties. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2016 and currently serves on the Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications, Human Relations & Aging and Transportation committees.