Russell Simmons doesn’t recognize his old friend President Donald Trump and he’s publicly calling him out on it. Simmons penned a missive to Trump for the New York Daily News where he told the leader of the free world to “wake the [expletive] up.”
The Def Jam co-founder implored Trump to engage in introspection for his handling of race relations in the nation, most recently l the mayhem that occurred in Charlottesville, Va. this past weekend.
“None of these experiences should be ignored,” Simmons wrote. “It is time you take responsibility for your role in inciting this violence. Your time in office has dramatically heightened tensions and damaged our democracy.”
Simmons continued, “Everyone has darkness in them and everyone has light. For all of us, this is a constant battle — but the one who wins is the one we feed. You can begin to feed the light. The racist, bigoted movements you are feeding now are gaining power by your words, actions and refusal to hold people accountable for the destruction they are causing in your name.”
Simmons also told Trump to think about his family and how his actions will affect them in the long-term.
“Is this the legacy you want to leave behind? Your children’s legacy and your grandchildren’s legacy?,” Simmons inquired. “On the road you are on, old friend, the Trump name will come to be regarded in American history as a wannabe dictator who surrounded himself with bigots, white supremacists and money-hungry wolves.”
In the midst of reminding Trump of his shortcomings, Simmons also outlined the times Trump used his authority to bring positive change. Simmons recalled when Trump named Rima Fahki, the first Muslim, Miss USA and Lelia Lopez from Angola as Miss Universe.
However, Trump’s rhetoric has alienated the very groups of people he once rubbed shoulders with. But Simmons is optimistic that Trump can unite the nation.
“The good news for you is you are still in office. You can turn this around,” he wrote. “You can beat down racists and bigots, you can stop putting money into coal, stop destroying our environment, stop worsening climate change by empowering the factory farming industry.”
He concluded, “And for the love of all that’s sacred, you can stop tweeting threats to North Korea that may get us all into a nuclear war. You can find your highest self. You can become conscious. Scripture tells us the Donald I knew — or an even greater Donald — is still there inside you, sleeping. It is time to wake him the [expletive] up.”
Read the letter in its entirety here.