Speed Reads

SWITCHING SIDES

Man who Trump once called 'my African-American' is leaving the GOP over its 'pro-white' agenda

Three years after President Trump referred to a black campaign rally attendee as "my African-American," the man has decided to leave the Republican party and launch a 2020 campaign for the House of Representatives as an independent.

Four-time GOP congressional candidate Gregory Cheadle told PBS Newshour about his dissatisfaction with the Republican party and the Trump administration, saying the party is pursuing a "pro-white" agenda and using black people as "political pawns." Cheadle reportedly aligned with the Republican party fiscally, but the GOP's response to a slew of recent racial attacks by Trump on several congresswomen of color and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) made him re-evaluate his affiliation.

"They were sidestepping the people of color issue and saying that, 'No, it's not racist,'" Cheadle told PBS. "They were saying these people were socialists and communists ... 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."

Cheadle also criticized the racial makeup of Trump's judicial nominees, who are predominantly white. He wouldn't go so far as to label Trump a racist, instead saying he believes the president has a "white superiority complex."

Cheadle's words are a major change of tune from his feelings in 2016. After Trump famously told people at his campaign rally to "look at my African-American over here," Cheadle at the time said he was "startled" by people who were offended by the comments, adding that the country is so "polarized and sensitive."

"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," Cheadle told PBS. Read more at PBS Newshour.