Hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons has known Donald Trump for nearly three decades and describes the president-elect as a “real friend.” Following Trump’s victory, Simmons wrote a lengthy open letter, published on The Huffington Post on Friday, to the candidate he “vigorously campaigned against.”
“You’ve never been a part of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, as neither of them ever fully embraced you. You have been an independent thinker and successful businessman, who has spoken your own truth during your entire life,” Simmons writes. “While I disagree with many of the things that you have said during your campaign and many of your policies that you have proposed, you will still be our president, and I am willing to work for and with you.”
Simmons, 59, asks Trump to return to progressive New York associates to seek honest counsel. He fears what might happen if Trump retains the inner circle of advisers who led his campaign, including continued police brutality, discrimination against Muslims, and “the hateful and harmful language towards women and people of color.”
“Those who have surrounded you during the campaign have offered some very dangerous policies that would hurt people and the planet, which I want to believe you still care about,” Simmons adds. “The far right wing and the alt-right were your most staunch supporters, but those people are not your friends, and you know that. You have the chance to be the first true independent president this country has ever seen, but your radical beliefs you ran on during your campaign must be addressed.”
The Def Jam cofounder promises to keep an open mind for a Trump presidency, but also vows to take action if Trump makes “a dangerous move.”
“And you didn’t win the popular vote, so more people in this country disagree with what you propose, so remember that if you make a dangerous move, the people will be at your front door — I am sure you heard the 100,000 people who showed up last night in front of your New York City apartment,” he writes. “The numbers will only grow and they will be in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue every night for four years. And I will be there with them.”
He continues: “An entire generation of young people fear that this country has just elected its first dictator, and I cannot blame them for thinking that. However, I know you and I have to believe that you want to listen to outside people. … As always I stand with ALL the people and strongly admonish you to do the same.”
Read Simmons’ full letter at HuffPo.