At a June 2016 rally in an airport in Redding, California, Trump made another one of his literally countless mindless, ignorant remarks to a group of supporters. Trump began speaking about how an African-American man beat up another guy who was wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit at another of Trump’s rallies—Trump then looks out into the crowd, and Gregory Cheadle, who had a spot up front, jokingly shouted that he was the guy Trump was talking about. Trump heard him, pointed to him, and said: “Look at my African American!”
It was a cringe-worthy moment to say the least. Trump treated Cheadle like a token, and many felt uncomfortable at Trumps use of the word “my,” concerned that it sounded just a touch too close to literal slavery. #TrumpsAfricanAmerican went viral.
But Cheadle wasn’t offended. In fact, he found out Trump after the rally and got an autograph. That said, the LA Times interviewed Cheadle, who resents being called a “Trump sycophant.”
After the clip of Trump singling him out went viral, Cheadle was reportedly attacked on social media; his phone number and email address was discovered. According to the LA Times, he was harassed and “for a time he stayed home, too nervous to venture outside.” Although he did vote for Trump for president, Cheadle did not support the Republican candidate during the Republican primaries—he wrote in his own name. Even his vote in November was “almost entirely a vote against Democrat Hillary Clinton.”
Cheadle is now even less supportive of Trump. He believes that “prejudice has limited the number of blacks in [Trump’s] Cabinet” and believes that Trump's “promise to help the African American community was nothing more than empty rhetoric.”
“I would like for him just to show an interest in black people,” Cheadle told the LA Times. “Why can’t he go to a black city? Why can’t he trumpet black business? Why can’t he have more black people in his administration?”
The reality is that Cheadle identifies as a Republican but is a harsh critic of both parties. He argues that both Democrats and Republicans have supported racist policies, from President Clinton’s prison policies to Trump’s insistence of “law order,” which Cheadle says is simply “code language for, ‘We’re going to arrest more black people.’”
You can read the entire interview here.