While addressing the audience at a 2016 campaign rally in Redding, California, Donald Trump notably singled out a black man named Gregory Cheadle, calling him "my African American." Now, it appears that Cheadle's opinion on the president has changed, as he announced his decision to leave the Republican Party due to what he described as Trump's "white superiority complex."
As cited by The Guardian, Cheadle appeared on PBS NewsHour on Thursday, where he stopped short of calling Trump a racist but nonetheless accused the president of having a "white superiority complex" and overlooking African Americans and other people of color when it comes to things such as Supreme Court bench appointments. The 62-year-old former congressional candidate said that this is "really damning to everybody else" due to his belief that Trump sees whites as "superior" and chooses not to give similar opportunities to people of color.
"President Trump is a rich guy who is mired in white privilege to the extreme," Cheadle continued. "Republicans are too sheepish to call him out on anything and they are afraid of losing their positions and losing any power themselves."
Furthermore, Cheadle told PBS NewsHour that he feels the Republican Party follows a "pro-white" agenda and treats African Americans as "political pawns."
Talking about Trump's "my African American" comment during the rally from three years ago, Cheadle said that he originally took it as a joke. However, he now thinks that the president might have actually been pandering to black voters or trying to get noticed during his campaign when he made that remark.
"I'm more critical of it today than I was back then because today I wonder to what extent he said that for political gain or for attention."As related by The Guardian, the "tipping point" for Cheadle reportedly came when Republican lawmakers defended Trump following his verbal attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color and his feud with Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings. Per an earlier report from The Inquisitr, Trump tweeted toward the end of July that Cummings' majority-black congressional district was a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess," drawing immediate criticism from people who felt the comments were racist.
Separately, CNN quoted Cheadle, who explained to PBS that he also couldn't "stay on this ship" anymore as a black Republican as he believes people of color have so often been the subject of racially-charged insults during Trump's presidency.
According to CNN, exit polls of the 2016 presidential election revealed that only 8 percent of African Americans voted for Trump, as opposed to the 89 percent who favored Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The outlet also noted that the president has largely been unpopular among African Americans in multiple opinion polls, pointing out as well that 51 percent of respondents to a July Quinnipiac University poll said that they believe Trump is racist.