Gregory Cheadle, the black Republican Donald Trump once referred to as “my African American,” has finally had enough of Trump’s shenanigans and is quitting the GOP and making a run for Congress as an independent.
In an interview with PBS NewsHour, Cheadle said he had hoped that as president, Trump would focus on economic issues specifically impacting the African-American community. But he’s says he’s given up on that notion — and on the Grand Ol’ Party itself.
The 62-year-old real estate broker says the final straw was Trump’s treatment of “the Squad,” the four politically aligned women of color and progressive freshman members of Congress whom Trump said should “go back” from whence they came.
Cheadle wouldn’t go so far as to call Trump “racist,” but he labeled the occupant of the Oval Office as having a “white superiority complex.”
“We just haven’t had people called the names publicly that we have had with this administration,” he told PBS. “To stay on this ship now, as a black Republican, I couldn’t do it.”
Cheadle also said he was frustrated by the responses to Trump by his white Republican friends on Facebook:
“They were sidestepping the people of color issue and saying that, ‘No, it’s not racist,’” he said. “They were saying these people were socialists and communists. That’s what they were saying. And I thought this is a classic case of whites not seeing racism because they want to put blinders on and make it about something else.”
He also said he was particularly upset by the lack of people of color among Trump’s picks for federal judgeships.
“When you look at his appointments for the bench: White, white, white, white white, white, white,” Cheadle said. “That to me is really damning to everybody else because no one else gets a chance because he’s thinking that the whites are superior, period.”
So, Cheadle says he’s leaving the Republican Party and will run for a congressional seat in California where he lives in 2020.
And to those who may ask what took him so long to see the light?
Cheadle told PBS he understands the question, explaining:
he had held out hope that the Republican party would move to work on challenges specifically facing African Americans like healthcare disparities or black families having less wealth than white families. But, he no longer expects that.
Cheadle became a part of the national dialogue about Trump in 2016 when, during a rally in Redding, Calif., Trump looked out into the crowd, saw Cheadle, and remarked, “Oh, look at my African American over here. Look at him. Are you the greatest? You know what I’m talking about?”
Cheadle said that at the time, he took Trump’s comments as a joke and laughed along with the crowd. Now, he questions Trump’s intentions, telling PBS he sees the Republican Party as “pursuing a ‘pro-white’ agenda and using black people like him as ‘political pawns.’”