State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) is taking issue with how Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) publicly denounced his viral abortion remarks, revealing that Alabama’s junior senator actually called him to say he was correct but that for political reasons he had to throw Rogers under the bus.
In a nearly hour-long interview on Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Aunie Show” on Monday morning, Rogers sharply responded to Jones calling his House floor speech on abortion “outrageous” and demanding that Rogers apologize.
To open the interview, co-host Matt Murphy noted that he had agreed to be respectful of Rogers and not yell at him.
“Well, Doug Jones did [yell at me],” Rogers quipped, laughing afterward.
Later on while discussing Jones directly and what Rogers meant with his opening comment, Rogers said he and Jones have been friends for decades, with Jones also acting as Rogers’ longtime attorney.
“Everybody who knows me knows I’m combative,” Rogers said. “And I told Doug that — if you want to come out against me, I’m coming out here against you.”
He then outlined the conversation between Jones and himself.
“[H]e called me twice. He told me, ‘John, I know you’re right but I [have] to come out against you,'” Rogers said. “I said, ‘OK, fine, if it’s going to help your campaign, do that.’ That’s the kind of guy I am.”
However, that second conversation was not nearly as cordial between the two men.
Rogers shared, “And then he called back – and I didn’t know that somebody was trying to call me at the same time, you know sometimes lines get crossed up, and they heard Doug hollering and shouting. And they called me themselves, and I’ll tell you who it was: Frank Matthews.”
Matthews is a prominent social justice activist in Jefferson County and a longtime fixture in the area’s Democratic politics.
“He said, ‘John, wasn’t that Doug Jones hollering at you?’ And I said, ‘Yes it was.’ I wasn’t going to tell him a lie,” Rogers said.
He added that he had to end the second conversation with Jones because of how he treated him.
“I said I told Doug, ‘Doug, bye. I’m not ready to talk to you because you cannot apologize for me.’ I do my own apologies,” Rogers explained.
The cohosts then asked for confirmation that Jones had yelled at him on the phone in that second conversation.
“Heated,” Rogers said, before doing an impersonation of Jones.
“‘John, John, John, be quiet — shut up. [You’re] killin’ me, [you’re] killin’ me,'” Rogers shared. “He even said I don’t speak for Alabamians. I never said I spoke for Alabamians. I speak for my district.”
He stressed that Jones told him that what he said “was hurting” Jones politically.
“You don’t chastise me, holler at me like that,” Rogers added. “He issued an apology for me. I told Doug Jones, I said, ‘bye.’ I’m not talking to you, we don’t have to talk anymore. Because I don’t appreciate that… you don’t chastise me… hollering and shouting because I’m hurting your re-election. It’s bigger than re-election, what I was talking about.”
Rogers then asserted that 40-50 people have come to him since last week urging him to run against Jones in the 2020 U.S. Senate primary.
“Doug Jones was a good friend of mine,” he later said.
Co-host Andrea Lindenberg asked, “Is?”
“I said, ‘was,'” Rogers emphasized. “And that’s how I feel about it right now.”
He added that he felt Jones “was throwing him under the bus.”
Rogers said Jones’ actions were worse, considering Rogers, a pro-life Catholic, had “made a sacrifice” for pro-choice people like Jones.
“I could get excommunicated from my church,” Rogers lamented.
He emphasized Democrats like Jones were denouncing him solely for political reasons, even though they actually agree with him.
“[Just because] I spoke out on it,” Rogers said. “I think they are scared… they are scared to the bone. I don’t mind telling you, and I told [Jones] this. People agree with me, I’m right.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn