At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), we sit down with former Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones, a lifelong Democrat who lately grew to become a Republican and Trump supporter.
We sit down to debate his firsthand experiences with cancel culture, why he switched events, and what he hopes to realize along with his new group Waking Up America.
Jan Jekielek: We’re right here with Vernon Jones at CPAC. The theme of CPAC is America Uncancelled. You’re a bit accustomed to the concept of cancellation.
Vernon Jones: Personally, I’m accustomed to it as a result of I used to be a lifelong Democrat who got here out to help President Trump. My get together referred to as me a humiliation. They instructed me, I ought to resign. They instructed me, I didn’t share their values—I assume I don’t. At the identical time, liberal networks don’t let me on their stations as a result of I wasn’t carrying the narrative of a sufferer or calling President Trump a racist, when the truth is, Joe Biden is the one who has the bigotry in him and the Democratic Party, however they don’t need me to speak about this.
I’ve by no means been given any actual alternative to be on CNN and ABC and NBC, as a result of I’m an independent-thinking African American man with conservative values, they usually don’t need me to have that as a result of I assume I’ve affect on bringing individuals in [to the Republican Party] who historically have simply been voting Democrat, and I say particularly, African Americans.
They’re horrified by me, the left, as a result of they don’t management me like they historically have completed. All they do is get the black vote and use it to hold out a really liberal agenda that has nothing to do with the black neighborhood, and haven’t completed something for them, actually, prior to now 60 years.
Mr. Jekielek: This is de facto fascinating. You could have lined this on different interviews. You had been a Democrat for fairly a while. Did you alter? Did the Democratic Party change? What occurred?
Mr. Jones: I at all times inform individuals: I didn’t go away the get together; the get together left me. The get together, 30 years in the past, once I first joined, shouldn’t be the get together of immediately. Thirty years in the past, we had been fiscally accountable. Thirty years in the past, we believed within the First and the Second Amendment. Thirty years in the past, it was about doing issues that make this nation nice, bringing this nation collectively. You can have an impartial voice.
Now, the Democratic Party, when you don’t need it precisely like they need it, they don’t need you round, they don’t need you concerned, they name you a humiliation. They discuss this huge tent of variety. There’s one exception. When it involves African American women and men with impartial pondering and conservative values, we don’t belong.
But you will be white, independent-thinking and conservative and be a Democrat, they usually don’t say something about that. As a matter of truth, they help these candidates, and when these candidates run, they are saying, I do know they don’t vote with the Democratic Party however they’re in these races the place they need to vote that manner or else they’ll lose their seat. My factor is, let’s help a Republican who’s reasonable somewhat than help a Democrat who’s not even in your agenda, however nonetheless, they offer them passes.
But anyone like me, who’s conservative, who has those self same values—that is how I used to be raised, so I haven’t modified—they see it otherwise. That’s why you see increasingly African Americans waking up, and that’s why I discussed to you all, I began this group WakingUpAmerica.us as a result of we’re out carrying a conservative message to everyone.
More and extra African Americans now are waking up. They awoke they usually’re seeing the sunshine, how the Democratic Party has by no means prior to now 30, 40 years had any actual curiosity of their agenda, like Donald Trump did. Donald Trump got here on the scene. When he was campaigning to that black church in Flint, Michigan, he stated, “What do you have to lose by trying something new, like Trump?”
Mr. Jekielek: He bought into loads of bother for saying that, I recall.
Mr. Jones: He bought into loads of bother for saying that, however Joe Biden can keep in the identical black church and say, when you vote for Republicans, “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.” He ought to have been blasted for that.
So, my level, Donald Trump got here on the scene. What did he do? He labored with jail reform, launched loads of these African American nonviolent offenders that had been jailed due to Democratic insurance policies, together with Joe Biden’s. That identical Donald Trump went to historic black schools, HBCUs, the place they had been coming 12 months in and 12 months out begging for funding. What did he do? He wrote the funding into regulation.
That identical Donald Trump took alternatives in his personal districts, in lots of areas which can be dilapidated and devastated by Democratic insurance policies, and created job alternatives and redevelopment. That’s Donald Trump. Now, he did that in simply 4 years, when the truth is, Democrats hadn’t completed something like that in 40, 50 years.
Mr. Jekielek: Everything that you simply’re saying to conservatives may sound completely cheap, nevertheless it’s most likely unbelievable to folks that aren’t conservative. Would you agree?
Mr. Jones: Here’s what’s fascinating. Every mum or dad needs their youngster to have a top quality training. Isn’t it ironic although, once you look proper now at households, their youngsters are trapped in failing faculties based mostly on their zip code, they usually need their youngster to have a greater training. So Democrats, liberals, doesn’t matter, Republicans, conservatives, all of us agree on that.
However, Democrats need our kids to stay in these faculties, the place Republicans are saying, look, don’t lure this child on this failing faculty, Let the mum or dad have a selection, a faculty selection, to ship their youngster to a performing faculty. Let the cash comply with the kid.
That makes a distinction as a result of many households, many black moms and dads, have lied about their deal with to get their youngster out of failing faculty and put them in performing faculty. When the administration came upon that they lied concerning the deal with, they throw the kid out of that college, no sanctuary faculty for that youngster, after which they need the mom and father to be arrested.
Aren’t they attempting to do the identical factor that you simply say concerning the illegals coming over right here, that they need a greater life for his or her youngsters? You have Americans who need a greater life for his or her youngsters. That’s why Donald Trump is saying, “America First.” We’re okay with immigration, let’s do this, however let’s put America first for a change. And that’s what most Americans and the Republican Party, and possibly, fairly frankly, these whose views haven’t been formed by the liberal media, once they have a look at Donald Trump’s file and what he truly did, you possibly can’t disagree with him.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s very fascinating. I believe that it’s very laborious for lots of Americans to truly perceive what President Trump’s file truly was. Of course, we lined this at The Epoch Times, however that info simply isn’t available.
Mr. Jones: [The Democrats] knew he was performing, [but] they needed to jot down his file off, they usually swap individuals’s consideration from his file to his character, “He’s not presidential. He’s not presidential.”
Well, Obama was presidential, however guess what? Obama failed in immigration. Obama failed at school selection. Obama failed in jail reform. Obama failed in [holding] these different international locations accountable. Obama failed in China and all these locations when it comes to competing. They fail. They didn’t write about it as a result of they don’t need it to be in historical past the place individuals can look again and have a look at what his administration did. I do know what that’s like, and in order that’s what’s so unhappy about it.
Russia, Russia, Russia—went on for 3 and a half years. Where is it? No one was arrested based mostly on Russia, Russia, Russia. The [former] president was truly spied on [during] his marketing campaign. The FBI lied in FISA courts and all over the place else. The entire prime FBI was rotten from Comey on down—within the brass, not the rank and file, however the brass. Trump was proper; the media was fallacious. They knew there was nothing there, nevertheless it was to wreck him.
Another factor, what occurred on January 6 was fallacious, those that broke the regulation, however there have been 1000’s and 1000’s of peaceable patriots who had been standing up for his or her First Amendment, who love their nation, who needed to carry their officers accountable. Now those that broke the regulation, there’s no excuse for that.
But the Democrats and Joe Biden, all of them wish to grasp President Trump with those that broke the regulation. I listened to his speech, I didn’t go and break the regulation. You can’t management them. As extra info got here out, [it turned out that] the Capitol knew that one thing was going to occur, the FBI knew one thing was going to occur, the Capitol Police knew one thing was going to occur, however these first few weeks, it was all blamed on Donald Trump.
Let me again up. The entire summer season, Black Lives Matter and Antifa, what had been they doing? They had been burning federal courthouses, police stations, police vehicles, over 700 law enforcement officials had been assaulted, 26 individuals killed, together with a younger black woman in my residence state in Atlanta, Georgia. Eight years previous, shot by the automobile together with her mom. In New York, a one-year-old child woman shot by the stroller. Not a single phrase from these on the left. From Nancy Pelosi to Maxine Waters, they had been encouraging these people to do this sort of violence.
Wait a minute! There had been a number of insurgents there on authorities property too and on law enforcement officials, and black companies burned down. Everybody’s companies had been burned down. They had been coming in, actually, taking up metropolis blocks. And town was bringing them porta johns and simply truly serving to them to take over town. They began defunding the police. That identical metropolis that defunded all these law enforcement officials, they misplaced law enforcement officials, they misplaced help, after which they began being fearful for his or her lives. Now, they simply lately spent extra money to get extra law enforcement officials to return again.
That goes to indicate you, Donald Trump from day one was on the facet of regulation enforcement, they usually [the Democrats] needed to defund the police. Who are you going to ship to a home name, home name? A social employee? Who’s going to guard the social employee? They had the fitting string however the fallacious yo-yo.
Mr. Jekielek: Waking Up America—you talked about America’s changing into extra, I believed I heard you say, “woke,” however waking up America isn’t precisely about changing into extra woke from what I’m gathering right here.
Mr. Jones: Waking Up America’s focus is on American values, religion based mostly, laborious work, work ethic, faculty selection so youngsters can actually get a top quality training, supporting regulation enforcement, combating socialism and combating communism, and combating these “-isms” which can be hurting this nation. [They’re] not the American manner. We’re carrying this message all throughout the nation, whether or not you’re Democrat, Republican, it doesn’t matter.
Not too many individuals can disagree that these aren’t necessary points to face on. It was straightforward for me as a result of that is how I used to be reared. These are my values. I grew up on a farm in North Carolina. My mother says, “Stand for what you believe in; express yourself.” Now, the left is attempting to kill the First Amendment. My mother and pop felt like now we have the fitting to bear arms, responsibly utilizing weapons to guard a household, to go searching, issues of that nature. So these are issues I wish to attain out about, [especially] to younger individuals.
Young individuals love the atmosphere. I wish to attain out to them on preserving the atmosphere, wildlife, pure life, additionally on social justice. You can work on social justice with out going off the cliff. You can work on the atmosphere with out going off the cliff. There are some who discuss in 12 years, our planet goes to disintegrate. We know that’s not true. There are issues that we are able to do with moderation.
I believe the Republican get together must do extra to achieve out to younger individuals, and produce them in, and discuss these points which can be necessary to them. I additionally suppose that now we have to go all the best way right down to, truly, actually, elementary faculty, as a result of now we have academics from elementary faculty to varsity who’re instructing these youngsters, or I ought to say, placing youngsters in environments the place they’re utilizing their political opinions that occur to be left, however these youngsters are on the fitting. They’re afraid to say something as a result of they’re seemed upon as if one thing’s fallacious with them.
When academics are actually calling Republicans, “Klansmen,” when the truth is, Democrats began the Klan, when academics are saying that President Trump is that this and that in a really detrimental tone, there are different youngsters who come from households that help President Trump, they usually’re afraid to say one thing. We’re simply attempting to get down and root this out, and have us recalibrate, in a way.
Trump introduced a revolution to this nation along with his administration, or to the world. What is a revolution? Radical change. Thomas Jefferson stated, we have to undergo a revolution each 20 years. When you begin doing the identical previous factor, you drift and also you’re drifting, and typically you must do a radical change and pull the nation again, and that’s what Donald Trump has completed. The left is horrified, however loads of Democrats don’t actually know what’s happening in Washington.
When I mentioned with my mates who’re Democrats, I stated, “In the House in Washington now, you can’t say, ‘brother.’ You have to say, ‘my sibling.’” “That’s crazy.” “Oh, yes. That’s the party that you’re supporting.”
When I say, “Transgender bio males are competing in female sports. Would you like your daughter [to compete with them]?” “No, I don’t want my daughter to compete because biologically, there is a difference.” They didn’t know that. They are voting for these individuals, as a result of the media has tuned that out. They don’t see that happening they usually’re simply following Democrats, however once you begin taking a look at what Democrats are doing, it’s harmful to this nation.
They have a proper to precise themselves. I consider in supporting the First Amendment, however they don’t need you and others and me to have the First Amendment, to talk and categorical ourselves. So that’s why I’m carrying my message throughout this nation and persons are shopping for into it. Democrats are horrified with me as a result of I’m presupposed to be black and I’m presupposed to help Democrats.
Mr. Jekielek: This is your first time truly at CPAC. Tell me concerning the expertise?
Mr. Jones: It’s type of fascinating. It is my first time. I’m aside of the Grand Old Party now, I really feel at residence, and other people round me right here that I met and talked to, from all throughout this nation, now we have quite a bit in widespread and that feels good. It’s like I’m with household. There’s vitality right here too.
CPAC has introduced collectively a few of the most patriotic Americans that you’ll find who’re dedicated to 2022 and 2024. The planning is happening, the group is happening, the networking is happening. We’re planning to retake the Congress in 2022. You’ve seen loads of candidates right here. You see loads of workshops, loads of audio system right here who’re encouraging individuals. This is the place all of it begins.
CPAC is the official, in my thoughts, launch of the 2022 election. I’m seeing extra African Americans within the Republican Party now, and right here, there are a selection of African American candidates who’re working for Congress throughout the nation. When I say Congress, [I mean] the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. I believe that is new for them, that is historic for CPAC. Matt Schlapp’s management—he will get it, he understands it, and he’s supportive and has been supportive of the [former] president.
This has been an unbelievable alternative to me. It’s historic for me too. I’m extra energized and extra devoted, like all of us right here. You don’t see this on the liberal networks. You don’t see the gathering, you don’t hear them having completely different voices, it’s all one sided—the CNNs of the world. But this reinforces that there are too many individuals on the market who suppose like I believe, really feel like I really feel, consider what I consider, and I’m assembly a few of those self same 74 million folks that voted for Donald J. Trump. So we’re right here, we’re armed, and getting stronger and getting larger.
Mr. Jekielek: Such a pleasure to talk with you.
Mr. Jones: Thank you a lot.
This interview has been edited for readability and brevity.
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