Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said Monday that GOP front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE has “fueled the fires of hate” with his presidential campaign.

“I’m surprised at his views on immigration and on people in general,” Simmons told CBS’s “This Morning." 


“He’s said things that have fueled the fires of hate,” Simmons continued. "He’s saying everything that could hurt underserved communities.

“That’s hurt me because I’ve known him for so long not as that kind of person. We’ve been friends for many years.”

The Def Jam Records co-founder added that Trump is surging in popularity with voters who are outraged by how America is transforming.

“I think there’s a piece of America that’s still fighting this shift towards tolerance and love for each other,” Simmons said.

“Those people are supporting him — a great number of them. Some are for other reasons, [but some are] for this anger. He’s really getting a lot of support.”

Simmons wrote an open letter last month describing Trump as an “amazing friend” whose private kindness is missing on the campaign trail.

“Don’t feed the rhetoric created by small-minded people,” he wrote. "You’re smarter and certainly more loving than you let on. Stop the bullshit.

“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.”

Trump sparked debate around the world last year by proposing a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. and calling for the deportation of all illegal immigrants.