It’s been nine days since Doug Jones won the Alabama special Senate election and his disgraced opponent Roy Moore still hasn’t conceded, resorting instead to posting homophobic messages about Jones’ gay son on his Facebook page.
Jones, meanwhile, is still enjoying his victory lap.
On Thursday night, in one of his biggest national TV appearances yet, Jones made his late-night debut with NBC’s Seth Meyers, who was a loud critic of Moore’s during the bruising campaign. Even before Moore was accused of sexually harassing or assaulting several underage girls, the Late Night host said he was “deeply unfit for office” based on his views about LGBT and Muslim Americans.
“I would think it’s safe to say this is the most anyone has ever paid attention to an Alabama senate election,” Meyers told Jones. “And what we saw by paying attention, was your opponent seemed a little extreme at times. He brandished a gun on stage, he rode a horse to vote. From where you were sitting was it as hard to believe at times as it was for people who were maybe new to this?”
“No, it was hard to believe all the time,” Jones deadpanned. “It was surreal to watch some of that.”
As Jones explained it, he won as a Democrat in Alabama by being true to himself and keeping the focus on “kitchen table issues.” Now, he has said he wants to work with President Donald Trump and Republicans when he gets to the Senate. “You’ve got to try to reach out, but it’s one of those things, they’ve got to want to work with you as well,” he said. At the same time, he did not hold back at criticizing the GOP for rushing to pass a tax cut for the rich while dragging their feet on funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
“They were looking for a political win,” Jones said of the Republicans. “They’ve not seen anything that’s really been, legislatively, a win for them. They needed something by the end of the year. So unfortunately, the CHIP program and others got just kind of shoved to the wayside.”
Meyers also gave Jones a chance to explain his comments from this past weekend, in which he told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Democrats should “move on” from talking about the sexual misconduct allegations against President Donald Trump.
“I wasn’t really talking about moving on from those allegations,” Jones said, walking back those earlier remarks. “I think, Seth, anybody that followed my campaign knows that I have consistently had women’s empowerment issues at the forefront of my campaign. And especially after these allegations—not only with the president, but with others across the country and Roy Moore, I think we’ve truly reached a tipping point, a kind of a crossroads in this country, where women who have been abused and felt abused can now stand up, speak out. That is what I have been for all along.”
“What I want to do, though, is for me personally, I think the people of Alabama voted for me to put me up there to try to talk about health care and those issues,” he continued. “And I want to get in there to do those issues. But that doesn’t by any stretch mean that I don’t think that those issues and those women who have made those allegations aren’t important. They are. They need to stand up, they need to speak out, and everybody needs to pay attention to them.”