Black man once singled out by Trump leaves GOP, slams president's 'white privilege'

Gregory Cheadle, the black man singled out by President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE as “my African American” at a rally, is leaving the Republican Party and pursuing a congressional run as an independent, PBS News reported Thursday. 

The 62-year-old real estate broker told the outlet that he sees the GOP as pursuing a “pro-white” agenda and using black people like him as “political pawns.”

The moment that convinced Cheadle to leave the party was when many Republicans did not condemn Trump’s tweets telling four congresswomen of color to back to their countries and defended Trump’s attacks on Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsThe sad spectacle of Trump’s enablers Democrat Kweisi Mfume wins House primary in Maryland Key races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries MORE (D-Md.) and Baltimore.

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“President Trump is a rich guy who is mired in white privilege to the extreme,” Cheadle, who switched from being an independent to a Republican in 2001, told PBS. “Republicans are too sheepish to call him out on anything and they are afraid of losing their positions and losing any power themselves.”

He said that after the two attacks from the president, many of his Republican friends defended Trump.

“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.”

Cheadle became known when Trump singled him out at a 2016 rally in Redding, Calif.

At the time, Cheadle laughed along with the president and the crowd and said he wasn’t offended by the incident.

“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,” he told PBS.

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