News (USA)

Out former Rep. Mondaire Jones loses progressive support due to his stance on Israel & Gaza

Former Congressmember Mondaire Jones
Former Congressmember Mondaire Jones Photo: Shutterstock

The Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC has dropped its endorsement of former Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY). The PAC has not officially stated why, but many suspect it is over his endorsement of progressive Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s (D-NY) primary challenger due to Bowman’s call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Additionally, the New York Working Families Party (NYWFP) is rescinding all funding and on-the-ground support for Jones’s campaign. However, they are maintaining their endorsement of Jones.

“A number of factors led to the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC rescinding the endorsement of Mondaire Jones,” Evan Brown, the PAC’s executive director, said to The Hill. “This was a unanimous decision of our PAC board.”

Jones endorsed Bowman’s opponent, George Latimer, a staunchly pro-Israel candidate who is backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Latimer received millions in funding from the PAC. Many of his donors are Republicans with a history of supporting former President Donald Trump, according to The Intercept.

NYWFP codirectors Jasmine Gripper and Ana María Archila said in a statement, “[Jones’s] decision to back George Latimer, who uses racist dog whistles, rejects core parts of Biden’s economic agenda, and shares donors with Mondaire’s own MAGA extremist opponent, runs counter to our values as a party.”

Latimer, a white man, has been frequently accused of racism by opponents, largely due to his many controversial past comments. Ravi Mangla, a communications manager for the Working Families Party, made a thread on X to showcase specific examples, including when he compared those calling for former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign over sexual harassment accusations to the lynch mob that killed Emmett Till and when he said Black and brown voters “skew” election results.

Latimer told the New York Times that he hopes Jones’s endorsement can dispel claims of racism.

Jones told The Hill, “I have no regrets about standing up for what I firmly believe in. I have known and worked with George Latimer for years. I used to represent thousands of people in what is now New York’s 16th Congressional District, and have deep relationships there. Rep. Bowman and I have very different views on Israel.” 

Earlier this week, Jones spoke to the New York Times, stating, “There is nothing progressive about rushing to call for a cease-fire in the days following Oct. 7.” 

He continued by accusing the Democratic Socialists of America of hosting a “pro-Hamas” rally in New York City, referring to a rally on October 8, 2023 where participants expressed their support for Palestinians.

Jones previously served as a representative for the 17h Congressional District from 2021 to 2023 before losing his place in his district in an acrimonious redistricting to Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), a Democrat with more funding and institutional reach. Jones then sought nomination in the 10th Congressional District, losing to Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY). Maloney ended up losing his general election campaign in the 17th.

The former representative now seeks re-election in the 17th Congressional District.

Jones was one of the two first gay Black congressmen and has promoted a number of progressive policies, including pushing for better legal protections of marriage equality and helping to lead the charge on Trump’s impeachment.

His history makes his stance on Israel even more shocking to progressives, who see his stance as a betrayal of both progressive Democrats and Rep. Bowman, who has otherwise been very close with Jones.

“He positioned himself as Squad-adjacent during his time in Congress,” Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), a member of the progressive caucus who is referring to the alliance between progressive members of Congress, told POLITICO. “And then now, when it is beneficial to him, he will go against someone who actually was there for him.”

Justice Democrats spokesperson Usamah Andrabi told POLITICO, “Mondaire Jones and George Latimer are a great match, both are clearly willing to compromise on core democratic values to do the bidding of AIPAC’s Republican megadonors and use Jamaal Bowman as a stepping stone for their self-interested political aspirations.”

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