Gregory Cheadle, Who Trump Called ‘My African American,’ Is Leaving GOP To Run For Congress As An Independent

Written by Dana Sanchez
Gregory Cheadle
Then-candidate Donald Trump talks to Gregory Cheadle as he leaves a campaign rally in Redding, Calif., on June 3, 2016. Trump singled Treadle out in the mostly white crowd, calling him “my African-American”. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Gregory Cheadle, a real estate broker who became known at a 2016 GOP rally when then-candidate Donald Trump called him “my African American,” has left the Republican party to run for Congress as an Independent in 2020.

The last straw, Cheadle said, was disgust with how fellow Republicans defended the president’s tweets and public name-calling. “To stay on this ship now, as a black Republican, I couldn’t do it,” Cheadle told PBS.

Cheadle, 62, has run for Congress five times before but has yet to win. As part of his 2020 platform, he plans to advocate for zero-interest student loans and balancing the federal budget, PBS reported.

At a rally in Redding, Calif., Trump singled out Cheadle in the audience and said, “Look at my African American over here. Look at him. Are you the greatest?”

Gregory Cheadle
Gregory Cheadle. Image:

Cheadle told PBS that the final straw in his GOP disillusionment came when he watched fellow Republicans defend Trump’s attack tweets against the Squad. Trump told four congresswomen of color — all American citizens — to go back to their countries. Cheadle also hated how Republicans defended the president’s attacks on Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. Trump tweeted that Cummings’ hometown of Baltimore is “infested.”

Cheadle said he thought Trump was being funny. He laughed along with the mostly-white audience, he told PBS. However, he’s had a chance to think about it. Now Cheadle said he thinks Trump is pursuing a “pro-white” agenda and using Black people like him as “political pawns.”

Cheadle drew the line at calling Trump a “racist” but said he believes the president has a “white superiority complex.”

“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.”

Gregory Cheadle in a PBS interview

The burning question on social media was: What took Cheadle so long?

“So he stuck with Trump for 3 years, pushed Trump’s narratives and in all those years couldn’t see he was being used and that Trump & his administration is racist? Only now just realizing this? LOL” @SensiaBlue tweeted.

“Geez….what was his first clue?….The birther stuff….the Central Park 5….not letting black people rent his apartments?….Kinda took a looong time,” @billiecowell tweeted.

Others on social media were more bitter:

“After using the GOP to break America, another Republican is leaving the party,” @MyP_Chicago tweeted.

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Cheadle acknowledges that people are right in thinking he waited too long to leave. But he said he was holding out hope that the Republican party would work on problems facing African Americans such as wealth inequality and health disparities. He’s stopped waiting.

In a recent Quinnipiac poll, 80 percent of Black respondents said Trump is racist. Just 3 percent of African Americans are registered Republican voters and 8 percent lean Republican while 84 percent lean Democratic, according to a Pew Research Center poll in 2018.

Black voters are a critical component of the Democratic Party, making up around 24 percent of the Democratic presidential primary voting block, CNBC reported.

African American voters have overwhelmingly supported Democrats for decades. Trump won 8 percent of the Black vote in 2016 and Hillary Clinton won 88 percent.

Cheadle acknowledged that critics may say he’s leaving the Republican party for publicity, but he said he thinks running as an Independent is even harder than as a Democrat or Republican because the party lacks structure.

More than a third of Black respondents age 18 to 36 said in a new study from Gen Forward, a University of Chicago-based polling initiative, that they saw themselves as “independent” or “something else,” The Root reported.