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 TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage 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 CummingsCracks emerge in White House strategy as witness testifies Overnight Defense: Pentagon insists US hasn't abandoned Kurds | Trump expands sanctions authority against Turkey | Ex-Ukraine ambassador says Trump pushed for her ouster On The Money: Trump announces limited trade deal with China | Appeals court rules against Trump over financial records | Trump expands authority to sanction Turkey 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.