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Timothy L. O'Brien

Why Trump Can't Respond to Charlottesville

It's not politics. It's his long history of race-baiting.
Photographer: Anadolu Agency/Getty

Donald Trump, the hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons once told me, is "the official bling-bling white man."

Simmons, a frequent guest at Mar-a-Lago, was explaining to me more than a decade ago why Trump had gained widespread acclaim among rappers. In short, Simmons said, Trump was extravagant, obsessed with public displays of his wealth and loving every minute of it. Rappers saw Trump as a role model, and as someone who was inclusive.  "A lot of rich white guys want to thumb their noses at you and have their cake," Simmons said. "That's not Donald."