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Campaigners demand firing of OBA senator who backed Trump

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Marcus Jones, One Bermuda Alliance senator, has faced a backlash over his comments in support of impeached US President Donald Trump (File photograph)
Social Justice Bermuda, an activist group inspired by the global Black Lives Matter movement, has called for the removal of Marcus Jones as a senator (File image)

A campaign group yesterday demanded the removal of of an under-fire senator after an “abhorrent” social media post that backed impeached US president Donald Trump.

Social Justice Bermuda, inspired by the global Black Lives Matter movement, said the One Bermuda Alliance should axe Marcus Jones from the Upper House.

A row blew up last Sunday after Mr Jones, a former Senate Leader, said in a Facebook post that he was a “staunch” supporter of Mr Trump and would pray for him.

Mr Jones, who lost the OBA seat of Pembroke West in the 2020 election and previously stood for the Progressive Labour Party in the 2012 election in Pembroke South West, signed off on his post as “Senator Marcus J Jones”.

Reached for comment by The Royal Gazette, Mr Jones refused to comment on the controversy yesterday.

SJB highlighted that it had called on the PLP to drop Rolfe Commissiong, a former MP, from the Senate because of his history of sexual harrassment.

Mr Commissiong was forced to resign as Government Senate Leader and Minister of Community and Sports last November after just two days in the job.

The group said Mr Jones had also “proven himself unfit to represent Bermuda in the Upper House”.

SJB added: “Marcus Jones signed his post to Trump explicitly in his capacity as Senator Marcus J Jones.

“He cannot hide behind the guise of a personal opinion when he sought to bolster his craven devotion to the fascist Trump with the authority of his Senate position.“

SJB said that the OBA had also criticised the PLP when it appointed Mr Commissiong and demanded his removal.

The group added it expected the same stance from the party over MR Jones.

SJB said: “Unless the OBA takes action against Marcus Jones, it is clear their positions previously were nothing but opportunistic and hypocritical statements.”

The group asked: “So, what is it, OBA? Principles or opportunistic politics? Respect for democracy, human rights and international law or craven support for fascist Trump and his blatant thwarts against democracy and humanity?”

Facebook commenters blasted Mr Jones’ stance on Mr Trump, who was impeached for "incitement of insurrection" over the storming of the US Capitol in Washington DC on January 6 that resulted in the deaths of five people.

Mr Trump was earlier accused of an attack on democracy by his refusal to concede last November’s election to president-elect Joe Biden.

SJB claimed Mr Jones has declared himself a supporter of Mr Trump’s policies and behaviour.

The group questioned how Bermuda could accept a senator who supported a man who had denied a democratic election result, supported the violent overthrow of the legislature and broke international law.

SJB said: “Quite simply, we cannot. We all deserve better. Bermuda deserves better.

“If the OBA thinks that someone who supports such right wing populist positions is fit to represent them and our island in Bermuda’s Senate, we can only conclude that the OBA, as a party, also supports these positions.“

The row blew up after Mr Jones wrote in a Facebook post that he was a “staunch” supporter of Mr Trump and would pray for him.

The post was in response to an online article by Dutch Sheets, a far right Christian fundamentalist American author and pastor which backed Mr Trump, who will be replaced by Democrat Joe Biden today.

Mr Jones wrote: “I have taken up the mantle with you to pray for America and president Trump.

“Since he was elected as president in 2016, Holy Spirit has prompted me to be an intercessor for your president who in that time has become my president.”

Mr Jones added that most of his family and friends did not support Mr Trump.

He added: “They disregard the president’s policies that have defended religious freedom, declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel or recognised what he has done to improve your economy.

“So I am a minority supporter of the president in my community but a staunch one.”

Cole Simons, the Opposition Leader, distanced the party from Mr Jones’ views.

But Mr Simons backed his senator’s right to voice his personal opinion.

He added that the OBA “had no intention” of becoming involved in US internal politics.

The Progressive Labour Party also weighed in on the controversy.

A spokeswoman said that Mr Simons should ask himself if he wanted someone a senator who supported a president linked to white supremacy, sexism and the incitement of violent insurrection.

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Published January 20, 2021 at 8:12 am (Updated January 20, 2021 at 8:12 am)

Campaigners demand firing of OBA senator who backed Trump

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