State Sen. Burt Jones believes there were improprieties in the November presidential election, but that Wednesday’s mob attack on the U.S. Capitol is unacceptable, he said.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Jones said questions about November’s election results should never have led to the violence seen at the nation’s capitol.
“There were some individuals who tried to express themselves by turning to violence, but that’s never the way to do it,” Jones told The Union-Recorder. “Any time you have something like that happen, because of the bad actions of a few, it’s never acceptable, and especially not acceptable in an arena like the United States Capitol.”
Jones, a staunch supporter of Pres. Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence since they took office four years ago, said such lawlessness is never acceptable.
He said he supports the FBI going after those responsible for breaching the capitol. Several of the rioters have been taken into custody following the mob’s acts that sent lawmakers scurrying for safety in the chamber where the process of certifying the electoral votes from the presidential election had just begun.
Five people died related to the attack.
As of Thursday night, federal authorities had charged 55 people with crimes related to Wednesday’s uprising and the temporary siege of the federal building for more than three hours.
“Any of those people who had anything to do with breaking the law there need to be held accountable,” said Jones, who has held a close working relationship with Trump and Pence.
The state senator has introduced both men on several occasions when they have attended political events in Georgia.
Asked to respond to Pence’s stance on accepting the electoral college votes without weighing in any other way, Jones shared his thoughts.
“I thought the vice president was put in a very dismal spot,” Jones said. “I also think he handled it as best as anybody could.”
Jones said he thought the more appropriate forum for discussion or objection to the election certification should be with each of the state’s legislative bodies. Such allegations have tainted the presidential election in Georgia and several state lawmakers, the majority of whom are Republicans, advocating for election reform and calling for the resignation of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Rafensperger.
“The unwillingness by those states to take action one way or the other put him (Pence) in the posture and so, he was dealt a tough hand, but I thought he handled it the best he could,” Jones said. “And people who want to point fingers, they need to first start where it began. And it began in the individual states.”
Asked to weigh in with his thoughts about Trump’s disapproval of the way Pence handled matters during the certification process of the electoral votes, Jones said he thought it boiled down to the way the president thought the issue was handled in several key battleground states.
“He’s (Trump) always known that was something that should be handled in every one of these states,” Jones said. “He, all along, has known that this is something that should be handled in the states. I think his hope was that there could be enough justification for Congress to punt it back to the states and let them decide the matter.”
Jones said he strongly believed that was Trump’s calculation concerning the election.
“But it all went off the hinges with the lawlessness that took place at the nation’s capitol,” Jones said.
Asked what he thought about outgoing U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s decision to withdraw her signature from the Georgia delegation complaint in support of the president’s allegations of fraud, Jones quickly responded.
“With everything that had transpired that day (Wednesday), I think it made it difficult for her to hold to what she previously had said she was going to do,” Jones said.
She had promised Trump Monday when the president came to Dalton, Ga. to support her election bid that she would object in debate during the proceedings.
Since Loeffler withdrew her signature, the Georgia delegation was unable to move forward in that direction. U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, who represents the 10th District of Georgia, announced the intent of the Georgia delegation, however.
Despite the outcome and the eventual certifying of the votes in Pres.-elect Joe Biden’s favor, Jones maintains that there are still questions on whether there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia’s election last month.
“There were hundreds, if not thousands of allegations of fraudulent activity that reportedly had gone on during the election involving either absentee ballots or in some cases the machines that people voted on,” Jones said. “The people’s confidence and the integrity of the election have really grown suspicious, and the state has not helped in the fact that a lot of these allegations have gone unchecked, and they’ve gone without investigation. The most blatant one was in Fulton County.”
Now, on the eve of the next session of the Georgia General Assembly, which begins next week, Jones said he wants to explore voting reform options.
“As I have been saying for the past two months, with any issue that you have in life — it doesn't matter if it’s in business or in personal relations or in government — whatever issues — you have to get to the root of the problem in order to be able to solve it,” Jones said. “And in getting to the problem, you’ve got to be able to take a deep-dive into the allegations that have been made. And if there has been fraudulent activity that has taken place, then you need to be able to illustrate that you are pursuing it, and those who have participated in it you need to show that they are going to be held accountable for it.”
Each of the issues needs to be taken in that deep-dive approach, he pointed out.
Jones said the bottom line is to be able to illustrate the flaws within the system.
“And you’ve got be able to illustrate those flaws in a confident manner,” Jones said. “And once you've identified them, then you address them. Like I’ve been saying, us not doing anything has helped caused unrest.”