Renowned hatemonger and presumptive GOP candidate, Donald Trump, stirred another race-related controversy when he singled out (reportedly the only) African-American man at a campaign rally in Redding, California, with a racially charged exclamation.
“Look at my African American over here! Look at him,” the candidate cried out Friday. “Are you the greatest? You know what I’m talking about?
The business mogul, at the time, was recalling an incident from earlier this year when an African American reportedly punched a man wearing Ku Klux Klan outfit at a Tucson rally. To prove to the crowd that the black community indeed supports him, Trump pointed out a different black person in this particular crowd and created yet another jaw-dropping moment in his presidential campaign.
The words caused quite a stir on social media. Almost everyone appeared offended with the incident — all but Gregory Cheadle, the man whom Trump had actually singled out.
“I was not offended by it because he had been speaking positively about black people prior to that statement,” Cheadle told NPR. “People around me were laughing [at the fact] that he noticed me and everybody was happy. It was a jovial thing.”
As it turns out, Cheadle is a Republican candidate in California's 1st congressional district.
“I never, ever sensed any racism on his part,” he clarified, noting that he took it as a flattering remark. “Looking at it now, I can see on a script — in a transcript or even somebody watching the clip — I can see how they would jump to the conclusion that it was racist. But I never felt anything at all. It's a compliment to me.”
After the incident, Trump even had a brief meeting with Cheadle, who called out “Uncle Donald” right before the candidate was about to leave. Apparently, they talked about jobs during their encounter.
Also, more importantly, Cheadle is not sure whom he would vote for in November.
“I am not a Trump supporter,” he clarified. “I went to go hear Donald Trump because I have an open mind.”
He said he also went to a Bernie Sanders rally last week in Chico, California, but decided not to go in.
“I am a free man,” he added. “I am not chained to any particular party and I refuse to be chained to any particular party.”