U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) on Monday was a featured speaker for the opening night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, with Alabama’s junior senator preceding U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Jones used the primetime slot as a full-throated stump speech for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who has announced U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate.
Jones’ Monday DNC address was seemingly filmed from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The entire convention is being conducted in a virtual format this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Much of the senator’s speech was on the topic of civil rights, using it as a theme to talk about the need for unity in present-day America.
“Growing up in the South meant growing up in the midst of stark divisions,” Jones began. “But it was here in Alabama where Rosa Parks helped ignite a movement by refusing to give up her seat on a bus. Where Freedom Riders of different races came together in pursuit of equality. And it was here, in Alabama, where John Lewis marched across a bridge toward freedom.”
He continued, “From a young age, I knew the hope that comes from seeing good people work to heal our divisions. It’s what led me to become the United States Attorney, where I convicted two Klansmen who murdered four young black girls in a 1963 Birmingham church bombing—and delivered long-overdue justice.”
“Alabama has shown me that even our deepest divisions can be overcome. Because each of us wants the same thing: to be treated fairly and given the same opportunities—and the freedom to live with dignity and respect,” Jones remarked.
The senator then turned his attention to the upcoming presidential election.
“Now, some politicians try to pit us against each other. But I believe that Americans have more in common than what divides us. And in November, we have a chance to elect a president who believes that, too,” Jones said.
Jones was an early endorser of Biden’s 2020 presidential bid and has defended him during some of the most controversial moments of the campaign, including when Biden was accused of sexual assault by former staffer Tara Reade.
“I’ve known Joe for more than 40 years,” Jones commented on Monday. “I met him as a wide-eyed law student, and he’s been my friend and champion ever since. The Joe I know is exactly the leader our country needs right now. He can bring people together to find common ground while standing up for what he believes is right. After years of bitter partisanship, he can unite our country and get things done for working families—and everyone looking for a better future.”
“Because it’s not about what side of the aisle we’re on. It’s about whether or not we’re on the side of the people,” added Jones, who has previously said representing the majority of his constituents is not “the be all to end all.”
Jones stated, “The great John Lewis would often quote an old African proverb – ‘When you pray, move your feet,’ and then challenge us to do just that. ‘As a nation,’ he said, ‘if we care for the Beloved Community, we must move our feet, our hands, our resources to build and not tear down, to reconcile and not to divide, to love and not to hate, to heal and not to kill. In the final analysis, we are one people, one family, one house – the American house, the American family.’
“Vice President Biden understands that. And he is who we need as our next president,” he concluded.
“Alabama has shown me that even our deepest divisions can be overcome. … Some politicians try to pit us against each other, but I believe that Americans have more in common than what divides us,” Sen. Doug Jones tells the #DemConvention https://t.co/DgrB72jn4j pic.twitter.com/E16cWWfiIG
— CNN (@CNN) August 18, 2020
Democrats and Republican react
Both sides of the aisle reacted with fervor to Jones’ speech.
In a tweet and a separate campaign email minutes after his speech, Jones used the DNC appearance to fundraise for his own campaign.
Republicans also reacted to Jones’ words.
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Nathan Brand tweeted that Jones’ speech resembled more of an audition for Biden’s cabinet than a reelection pitch for himself.
Alabama’s Republican senatorial nominee himself weighed in via a video statement.
“You know, because he’s one of them, didn’t Doug Jones look comfortable sharing the convention spotlight with liberals like Bernie Sanders, Michelle Obama and other out-of-touch Socialists?” Tommy Tuberville said. “His convention remarks left no doubt that Doug Jones will not stand with the people of Alabama.”
“Just like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Doug Jones supports late-term abortion, promotes gun-grabbing regulations, opposes the Mexican border wall and believes that President Trump’s tax cuts for working families should be repealed,” he continued. “It’s another prime example of Doug Jones supporting everything that Alabamians oppose and opposing everything that Alabamians support.”
Tuberville concluded, “I stand proudly with the Donald Trump and Mike Pence ticket, and my Senate votes will reflect conservative Alabama values, not the liberal, Socialist California and New York values that Doug Jones represents. God bless Alabama, and God bless the United States of America.”
Doug Jones looked at home sharing the spotlight with Bernie Sanders, Michelle Obama, & other out of touch socialists. Don’t let his Liberal, Socialist values speak for Alabama any longer. Contribute $5 to stop this Socialist non-sense!https://t.co/YhnyUd9Io9#MAGA #alpolitics pic.twitter.com/pdJbKlx7s9
— Tommy Tuberville (@TTuberville) August 18, 2020
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn