Doug Jones: D.C.’s planned July 4 parade ‘very, very unfortunate’
In an interview on a Washington, D.C. radio show, Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) on Wednesday said he was “very proud” of his record in the U.S. Senate and blasted the planned Independence Day celebration in the nation’s capital.
Covering a broad spectrum of controversial topics during the nearly 30-minute interview on NPR-affiliate WAMU’s “1A,” Jones first told guest host Todd Zwillich that he fully expects to be reelected, dismissing the notion that he is seriously at risk of losing to an eventual Republican nominee in November 2020.
“I don’t feel vulnerable at all. In fact, I feel very good,” Jones said. “You know, we hit the ground running, Todd.”
Alabama’s junior senator added that while “not everybody’s going to agree” with his record, he is “very proud” of it.
“The thing that I heard the most as we were traveling around the state during the campaign and over the last year was just simply, ‘Thank you. Thank you for being another voice and another option,'” he claimed.
In one especially noteworthy exchange, Jones during the interview blamed gerrymandering for Alabama’s new abortion ban law, the Human Life Protection Act.
He also said the overall abortion debate will not hurt him in the upcoming election cycle, saying the pro-life push around the country is “a wake-up call” that will actually benefit him with the majority of Alabama voters.
Jones asserted that despite common perceptions, most Alabamians are more pro-choice than not. He again called the Human Life Protection Act, which is not in effect and is never intended to go into effect, “extreme,” adding that a majority of the state’s people “overwhelmingly” agree with his take.
“What this law represents is really a gerrymandered legislature that only answers to a small fraction of the voters in their particular districts,” Jones decried. “It doesn’t represent the people of this state.”
Alabama voters 60%-40% in November 2018 passed a constitutional amendment declaring the state as being pro-life and upholding the rights of the unborn.
Jones added that the new law gives him “a really interesting opportunity” to talk about how abortion has “become a political weapon.”
He also tied the subject into healthcare, proudly saying he would make his staunch defense of Obamacare a hallmark of his campaign.
“[H]ealthcare is still a driving issue in this state, and while the Trump administration is trying to dismantle the ACA (Affordable Care Act), we’re trying to keep that,” Jones emphasized.
Later in the interview, he reaffirmed that the modern Democratic Party is still very much so reflective of his values, ideals and policies, even as it becomes more radical. Jones flatly rejected the notion that he would ever consider leaving his party.
“I’ve been a Democrat for a longtime,” he explained. “I am who I am, and I’m where I am, and now I got elected as a Democrat and I’m going to get reelected as a Democrat, and I’ll serve the next term as a Democrat.”
Asked directly if the national Democratic Party was moving too far to the left, Jones responded, “No.”
The host then added the qualifier of if the Democrats were moving too far to the left on the issue of immigration, with Jones again answering, “No.”
“Not at all,” the senator added.
This came after the two Democratic presidential primary debates last week, in which almost all of the candidates embraced providing free healthcare for illegal aliens and extreme open border policies.
— MRCTV.org (@mrctv) June 28, 2019
Jones said the American immigration system needs to be fixed, lamenting that the issue has become “weaponized” in this “tribally, politically divided” climate.
He blamed the current crisis at the border on the argument over whether the U.S. should build a wall on its border with Mexico. Jones himself does not believe in building the wall.
“You know, a wall is not going to stop these asylum seekers,” he said.
In the closing minutes of the interview, the host brought up the planned July 4 celebration in Washington, D.C., which is set to feature a patriotic parade that includes tanks and other red-white-and-blue pageantry.
Jones was asked if he agrees with the criticism that the historic Independence Day event has faced.
“There’s no question about what’s going on with the parade in Washington,” Jones stressed. “It is a political event. … This is purely a political event, and it is very unfortunate.”
“Independence Day, [the] July 4th holiday, should be as American as possible,” he continued. “It should not be a Republican, a Democrat or a military show. This should be an American show. And unfortunately, I think the president has decided to make it a Donald Trump show. And that’s very, very unfortunate.”
You can listen to the interview here.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn