WATCH: Vernon Jones on why he supports President Trump | 2020 RNC Night 1

Vernon Jones, a Democratic state representative from Georgia, spoke on the first night of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 24, 2020. Jones highlighted why he, despite being a Democrat, supported Trump, including the president’s funding for historically black colleges and universities. Last year, Trump signed a bill to permanently provide $250 million a year to HBCUs and other institutions that serve large populations of minority students after funding lapsed. The Congressional CARES Act, signed by Trump in March, also provided about $1.4 billion in emergency funding to HBCUS and minority serving institutions. Jones also praised the president for ending “the policy of mass incarceration.” Mass incarceration in the U.S. is not the result of a singular policy, but Jones was likely referring to the 2019 First Step Act, which is one of the most significant pieces of legislation aimed at criminal justice in years. Among other things, the bill takes steps to ease mandatory minimum sentences under federal law and reduce the sentencing disparities for crack cocaine and powder cocaine that disproportionately affected Black communities. The RNC planned a mix of virtual and in-person events in North Carolina and Washington, D.C., for its nominating convention after the coronavirus pandemic interrupted plans for a traditional nominating event.

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