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Georgia Democrat announces resignation days after endorsing Trump

A Democratic state lawmaker in Georgia who broke with his party and endorsed President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE for reelection announced his resignation on Wednesday.

State Rep. Vernon Jones told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) that he had "left the plantation" in a short statement announcing his retirement from the state House.

“Turn the lights off, I have left the plantation,” Jones said. “Someone else can occupy that suite. Therefore, I intend not to complete my term effective April 22, 2020.”

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In an interview with a local radio show following his announcement reported by the AJC, Jones vowed to hold the Democratic Party accountable and "root out the bigotry" within his own party.

“I don’t plan to leave the Democratic Party because somebody’s got to be in there to hold them accountable — hold them accountable to how they are treating black people [and] root out the bigotry,” he said.

His resignation comes nearly a week after he told the AJC that he was endorsing Trump for reelection, a move that garnered heavy criticism from state Democrats.

“It’s very simple to me. President Trump’s handling of the economy, his support for historically black colleges and his criminal justice initiatives drew me to endorse his campaign,” Jones told the newspaper last week.

“There are a lot of African Americans who clearly see and appreciate he’s doing something that’s never been done before,” he added. “When you look at the unemployment rates among black Americans before the pandemic, they were at historic lows. That’s just a fact.”

The chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, Nikema Williams, sharply criticized Jones after his backing of Trump.

"Never has that been clearer than this moment, when he chose to stand with the racist president who has made an all-out assault on Black Americans, who has tried to rip away American health care, and who has failed our country in its greatest time of need during the most important election in our lifetimes," Williams said. "Vernon Jones doesn’t speak for Georgians, and neither does Donald Trump — which is why Georgians will send him home in November 2020."

According to Pew Research, Trump got 6 percent of the black vote in 2016, with Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGroups seek to get Black vote out for Democrats in Georgia runoffs Biden's political position is tougher than Trump's Valadao unseats Cox in election rematch MORE garnering 91 percent.