But Jones said blind loyalty to any elected official is wrong.
“I think Coach Clueless’ comments really reflect the fact that he is always going to support Donald Trump, no matter what. … People will not stand up and speak out even when they know the president is wrong and should be called to account for it," Jones said.
The Tuberville campaign responded on Friday by saying it was it was highly inappropriate for Jones to hold "a negative attack news conference” on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“And Doug Jones should have recognized that simple fact,” Tuberville campaign manager Paul Shashy wrote in an email.
Jones began the news conference with remarks about the 9/11 anniversary.
Jones said he was concerned over Trump saying he had downplayed the threat posed by the coronavirus.
“Folks, you don’t downplay something that could kill people like this. You don’t downplay hurricanes. You don’t downplay tornadoes. You don’t downplay those things that you know put people’s lives and their livelihoods in jeopardy,” Jones said.
During Friday's campaign event, Jones and Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Chris England urged people to take advantage of absentee voting that began this week. The Alabama secretary of state has said people can vote by absentee ballot if they are concerned about COVID-19 at the polls.
“Every day in Alabama is Election Day. It is one of those rare occasions that we have in Alabama to vote at your convenience and not just the convenience of the state and to do it safely, securely, without worry about whether the Postal Service will deliver the mail on time,” Jones said.
Armed with Trump's endorsement Tuberville won the GOP nomination over Jeff Sessions in the July GOP primary runoff. Sessions held the Alabama seat for 20 years before resigning to become Trump's first attorney general, but was wounded by his fallout with Trump as he sought a political comeback.
FILE - In this Thursday, May 7, 2020, file photo, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., speaks during a Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on new coronavirus tests on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama has called Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville “Coach Clueless” for the former football coach's recent comments about the coronavirus. Jones attacked Tuberville in a campaign appearance Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool, File)
Credit: Andrew Harnik
Credit: Andrew Harnik