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June 06, 2016 11:25 AM

After being called out by Donald Trump during a recent rally as “my African-American,” Gregory Cheadle is defending the GOP candidate – but not necessarily supporting him.

“I was not offended by it because he had been speaking positively about black people prior to that statement,” Cheadle, a Republican politician running for California’s 1st Congressional district, told NPR, noting that the crowd around him at the Redding, California, rally found the moment funny and “jovial.”

During the rally, held at the Redding Municipal Airport, Trump pointed out Cheadle, telling the crowd, “Look at my African-American over there. Look at him – are you the greatest? You know what I’m taking about?”

Cheadle contended to NPR that Trump could have worded his remark more carefully, offering ” ‘Here’s my African-American friend,’ or ‘my African-American supporter’ ” as options with “less ambiguity.”

Gregory Cheadle
Source: Gregory Cheadle/Instagram

“Had he said, ‘Here’s my African-American’ and then after that said, ‘What’s up, dawg,’ or ‘boy’ or even the N-word as they use it today, I really would have been offended,” Cheadle explained.

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Despite his defense of the businessman, however, Cheadle said that Trump doesn’t necessarily have his vote in Tuesday’s California primary.

“I am not a Trump supporter. I went to go hear Donald Trump because I have an open mind,” Cheadle shared. “I am a free man. I am not chained to any particular party, and I refuse to be chained to any particular party.”

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