NASHVILLE — Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones, a Democrat, lavished praise on President Donald Trump while ripping into the Democratic Party during a Monday night speech at the Republican National Convention.
"The Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave their mental plantation, been there for decades," charged Jones, former chief executive officer of DeKalb County, who previously drew fire from fellow Democrats after endorsing the president's reelection in April and isn't seeking his own reelection.
Noting his parents imparted to him a strong work ethic while growing up in a cinder-block home they had built which had no indoor plumbing, Jones lauded Trump, saying he has produced for Blacks. He cited the president funding historically Black colleges and universities, noting he he had attended North Carolina Central University, a historically Black university.
And Jones called attention to what he called Trump's "historic criminal justice reform" that has "stopped incarceration of Black communities.
"Obama didn't do it, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris wouldn't want to do it," Jones charged, referring to former president Barack Obama and current Democratic running mates Biden and Harris, whose father was Black.
Jones said Biden has spent 47 years in public office "but he's all talk and no action."
Jones said after publicly endorsing Trump in the spring, "I was threatened, called an embarrassment, and asked to resign by my party. But I'm here to tell you that Black voices are becoming more woke and louder than ever."
U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee is scheduled to speak Wednesday night, following addresses by Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence.
Earlier Monday, Tennessee and Georgia Republicans joined fellow GOP delegates to renominate both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
In casting Tennessee's 58 ballots for Trump, state Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden noted that "Tennessee is known world wide for music and known convention wide for whiskey. This year has the privilege of celebrating 100 years of the passage of the 19th Amendment, locally known as the 'war of roses,'where suffragettes wore yellow. So we wear in honor today."
Tennessee in 1920 became the 36th state needed to ratify the amendment that extended the right to vote to women. "So on behalf of my two daughters and the daughters across America, Tennessee proudly casts its 58 delegates for the president of the United States, Mr. Donald Trump," Golden added.
The size of state delegations for this year's GOP convention in Charlotte are far smaller due to coronavirus-related crowd restrictions set by North Carolina officials. Just five Tennessee delegates are attending.
Last week, Democrats had a virtual convention.
This year the Republican National Committee decided to forego adopting a new party platform. Instead, delegates left intact their 2016 agenda but said they "enthusiastically support" Trump's agenda. Officials cited constraints on the number of attendees permitted to attend the GOP convention on why they did not adopt a 2020 platform.
That didn't sit well with some.
"The Trump campaign's official 2nd term platform just released. It makes zero mention of abortion or religious liberty," tweeted Samuel D. James, an associate acquisitions editor for Crossway Books, a nonprofit Christian ministry that publishes the English Standard Version Bible and gospel-centered books.
That in turn was picked up and retweeted by Weston Wamp of Chattanooga, a two-time Republican congressional candidate who founded the Millennial Debt Foundation.
"Make that no mention of abortion, religious liberty or the country's runaway, unsustainable national debt," Wamp tweeted.
Contact Andy Sher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-255-0550. Follow on Twitter @AndySher1.