REDDING, Calif. — A Republican singled out at a rally by Donald Trump as “my African American” said the episode was "odd," but insisted he was not offended.
Gregory Cheadle said he was the man in the crowd pointed out by Trump, who as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee boasted of his support among African-American voters.
Trump’s remarks were made Friday at a rally in Northern California where he told an anecdote about another black male supporter who got into a fight at one of his previous events.
“I didn't take offense at all because of what he said afterward,” Cheadle later told NBC News. “I liked what he said about his black supporter fighting off a man dressed as a klansman at his rally.”
"Yes, it was odd, but since he went on to tell the story, it's OK," Cheadle added. "I know some are saying it was demeaning, objectifying or possessory. But that's not the conclusion I came to."
Cheadle described himself as a Republican, but said he would not necessarily vote for Trump even after attending his rallies.
"When you come from the inner city, seeing someone like Trump is so far removed from my thinking,” he said. “I wanted to see a presidential candidate. I'm open to attend his rallies, but I'm not necessarily going to vote for him."
“I'm an 1856 Republican like the white Republicans back then who were trying to free the black slaves — fighting for the people, not corporations," he added. "Hillary Clinton is all about power and money.”
In his remarks about another black supporter, Trump recounted how "we had an African-American guy, who is a fan of mine, great fan, great guy."
That man "slugged" a protester dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit, Trump said.
"So when the African-American cold-cocked this guy, this guy never knew what happened ... We have tremendous African-American support," the real estate mogul assured.
However, the protester described by Trump says he never wore a hood of any kind. Video of the event, in Tuscon, Arizona, shows him being escorted out along with another protester, a woman who was wearing a KKK hat. She took it off as she was walked up the stairs toward the exit.
A man who identified himself as the protester said on Twitter that he had never met the woman and attended the rally alone.
“I am the protester attacked at the Tucson rally,” Bryan Sanders tweeted late Friday. “I did not wear a hood of any kind! Trump has told this lie repeatedly.”