His old friend Russel Simmon wrote him an open letter expressing his disappointment over his comments.
The former Def Jam Records co-founder appealed to Trump's better side, saying: "You’re smarter and certainly more loving then you let on."
Over 30 plus years you have been an amazing friend; endorsing my books, coming to my shows, flying me on your planes, your helicopters, and even allowing my family members and myself to stay in your house in Florida many times. So, it kinda pains me to know that my public statements about your candidacy have strained or ruined our friendship. However, the fact is, what’s at stake is bigger than us.
I want to begin this tough criticism by reminding you that I am the Chairman of The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, whose sole mission is to fight bigotry of all kinds. Our biggest program, as you know, is to get Jews to fight Islamophobia and Muslims to fight anti-Semitism. We are operating in forty plus countries, including Israel, France, Germany and the United States, where we have hundreds of “twinning programs,” bringing together congregations of mosques and synagogues on a regular basis. Do you remember, not too long ago, when you made disparaging statements about the Muslim community and I put you on the phone with myself and Rabbi Schneier and we had a meeting with the Chairman of the Islamic Society of North America? You were very gracious and you even came to the Islamic Cultural Center of New York on 96th Street. At that time, you walked into that house of worship and you felt all the love vibrating in that mosque. Try to remember how sweet and enlightened my good friend, Imam Shamsi Ali was, and all of the people you met with.
My friends, both Muslims and Jews, are saying there are so many comparisons between your rap and Hitler’s, and I cannot disagree with them, Donald. You can’t possibly want your kids or your wife Melania (all of whom I know and respect) to live with that. You are a born leader, who is set to possibly win the nomination of your party, but don’t compromise what I know is in your heart to do it. You are a generous, kind man who has built a career on negotiating deals where everybody wins. Now, you seem like a one-man wrecking ball willing to destroy our nation’s foundation of freedom.
Stop the bullshit. Stop fueling fires of hate. Don’t feed into the rhetoric created by small-minded people. You’re smarter and certainly more loving then you let on. The Republicans in power don’t like you any more than the Democrats in power, as they know you can’t be controlled, because you are your own man. You have been many people’s champ in the past, but now you are becoming a major embarrassment. I know the cheap seats are easy to play to, but you can get them just by being the man I have known for nearly 30 years.
I’ll pray that this truth will ring a bell and it will not only temper your rap, but remind you of the man you used to be. You are trying to be president of a country built on religious freedom; remember that the next time you discuss the beautiful followers of Islam. I would also like to remind you of one of my favorite quotes from the Holy Quran, “Love all men of good books equally.” The minute you target one group or one religion or immigrants, you have failed.
I wish you good luck on your path towards the White House, but as I’m sure you know, our belief systems are polar opposites on many of the issues. And I will be campaigning rigorously against you. But if you win, I might still accept an invitation to your house to straighten you up every so often.
Also his longtime friend and supporter, Piers Morgan aired his comments..
This is not an easy letter to write.
We’ve been friends for nearly a decade, since I competed in, and won, the first season of your Celebrity Apprentice show.
I hugely admire your talent, energy, chutzpah, determination and sheer force of personality.
In an increasingly politically correct world where the slightest slip of the tongue becomes an offence worthy of public social media execution, your straight-talking and refusal to apologise for anything is a breath of much needed fresh air, especially in the putrid atmosphere of Washington politics.
I also know you to be an incredibly loyal man, to family and friends.
Whenever I’ve been in the news for good or bad reasons, the one thing I can virtually guarantee is that you’ll either send me a note or give me a call to congratulate or commiserate.
Like many in the public eye, I have lots of fair-weather celebrity acquaintances who run a mile when the going gets rough. You’ve never been one of them. In fact, quite the opposite.
I’ve lost count of the number of people, some in very high places, who’ve said to me over the years, ‘I saw Donald Trump last night and he was singing your praises.’
I can even think of one specific occasion during my time at CNN when you may well have saved my job.
So like I said, this is not an easy letter for me to write, but I’m going to do it anyway because I think it’s the right thing to do.
The best friends, I’ve always believed, are not the ones who agree with everything you say, laugh at all your jokes, or suck up to you with unctuous sycophancy. Though there’s always room for a few of those in one’s life, obviously!
No, the best friends are the ones unafraid to look you in the eye and say: ‘You’re wrong.’
I wasn’t afraid to do that on Celebrity Apprentice and I’m not afraid to do it again now.
(Though even this is not quite as outrageous as the fact that people who ARE on the terror watch-list, and can’t fly on planes, are still able to buy guns and ammo legally in America.)
In light of this, it’s perfectly OK to call for tighter background checks on VISAs for people entering the United States. Every country should be looking at this area now as ISIS spreads its global jihad.
But what’s not OK is banning an entire people, a religion, from America.
For starters, it violates international law.
Second, it evokes hideous memories of the Nazi purge of Jews in World War II based solely on their religious ethnicity.
But perhaps most pertinently for you Donald is that when applied to U.S. citizens who happen to also be Muslim, your rule would be a clear, flagrant breach of the U.S. Constitution. A document you bow at the altar to during every debate about guns.
There’s also a wider point to be made here, again gun-related.
More than 32,000 people die in America from gun violence every year. There have been more mass shootings than days in 2015 alone.
Yet not once, after any of these incidents, have I heard you call for all those who share the same race, colour or creed of the killers to be banned from America.
Hardly surprising, perhaps, given that many of them are white Christians like you.
That’s why your call for all Muslims to be banned from America is so wrong: it’s not even logical.
The fact is that Muslims kill a tiny proportion of Americans a year in America. Each time they do, though, it is given disproportionate treatment in the media and by Republican politicians.
As I wrote last week, if America treated every mass shooting as a Muslim terror attack, there would be new gun control laws in days.
Donald, you’re no fool.
Nobody builds a multi-billionaire dollar empire by being anything less than a very smart guy.
Nor do I think you’re a racist.
I never once in all the time I worked with you on Celebrity Apprentice (I returned each year as your ‘eyes-and-ears’ on various challenges) ever heard you be even remotely racist, nor discriminate against people for their religion, either on camera or off it.
I simply don’t recognise the Donald Trump I know in this call for all Muslims to be banned.
I don’t think it’s who you really are, however gratifying it may be to hear the cheers of your fans when you said it.
When you entered this presidential race, many predicted your instant ignominious demise.
But here you are, six months later, as the Republican front-runner.
I wrote back in June that nobody should under-estimate you, and I was right.
I’ve also persistently supported your candidacy because I think American politics needs a man like you to shake it out of its tired, intransigent, cliché-d state.
There’s now, according to the polls, a very real chance you could be the Republican nominee, and who knows, perhaps even President of the United States.
But you don’t need to be a bigot to get there and that, respectfully, is how you’re now sounding.
America has millions of Muslim citizens who live very peacefully and happily side by side with their fellow Americans.
Your ugly choice of rhetoric will make them vulnerable to attack and stigmatisation, as we have already witnessed since last week’s massacre.
It will only serve to make Americans turn on Americans.
And that, in itself, makes your plan un-American.
It would also play right into ISIS hands, creating the very divide between Muslims and the West that they seek to create and exploit.
Donald, I hope you read this letter in the spirit of friendship in which I write it.
A great man knows when he’s wrong, even if it pains him to admit it.
In many ways, I think you’re a great man.
But on this, you’re badly wrong.