Trump takes on Hamilton on Twitter on disrespecting the vice president and why it matters
By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS
President-elect Donald Trump has done a first in history directly engage in a Twitter exchange and rant that was so common during his presidential campaign. Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning, Nov. 19, 2016, after Vice President-elect Mike Pence went to see the Broadway musical Hamilton at Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City the prior night, and he was met with boos. Hamilton Actor Brandon Victor Dixon, “who plays Vice President Aaron Burr,” acknowledged Pence’s presence at the end of the show. Dixon made a comment, a politically charged statement that Trump considered disrespectful; the president-elect demanded that the cast apologizes to Pence.
Pence attended the show “with his daughter, Charlotte, as well as his nieces and nephew” and he was “seated in the center orchestra section.” The video shows Pence entrance was met with loud boos and some cheers. Dixon said to Pence at the end of the show, “We hope you will hear us out.” Pence was leaving as Dixon continued his statement, but stayed in the hallway to hear it.
Later Hamilton’s official Twitter account HamiltonMusical published the entire statement, saying, “Tonight, VP-Elect Mike Pence attended #HamiltonBway. After the show, @BrandonVDixon delivered the following statement on behalf of the show. pic.twitter.com/Jsg9Q1pMZs”
The following is Dixon’s complete statement:
“I see you walking out but I hope you will hear us. Nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen, there’s nothing to boo here … We’re all sharing a story of love. We welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’ — we really do.We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of all of us. We truly thank you for sharing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds, and orientations.”
Trump saw the disrespect took to Twitter, his favorite platform to converse with his supporters and the public. On Saturday morning, Trump wrote, “The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!” Dixon responded, writing on Twitter, “@realDonaldTrump conversation is not harassment sir. And I appreciate @mike_pence for stopping to listen.” ‘Hamilton’ creator Lin-Manuel Miranda backed up Dixon and tweeted the President-elect, “Proud of @HamiltonMusical. Proud of @BrandonVDixon, for leading with love. And proud to remind you that ALL are welcome at the theater.”
Still, Trump found their reaction and words unbecoming to a vice-president, and continued commenting on Twitter, writing early morning, Sunday, Nov. 20, “The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior. Pence appeared later on Sunday morning on Fox News Sunday where he dismissed the events at the musical. Pence told his interviewers, “I really enjoyed watching Hamilton. It was a real joy to be there. I heard a few boos. I wasn’t offended by what was said.”
Although critics have a problem with Trump’s Twitter comments taking on a subject until he is proven right, in this instance he is correct. Even is Pence wants to dismiss this issue, the problem is greater than Trump or Pence, it is about respect for the office of the presidency and vice-presidency. Even if half of Americans are disappointed about the election outcome, afterward they have to respect the offices and the traditions that are 227 years old. Instead, they protest, harass, insult and even threaten on social media engaging in behavior far worse than anything Trump might have espoused on the campaign trail.
Entertainers have a platform, and they are overly political to the point that is insulting to those who do not agree with them, and they dismiss Trump because like them him has a background in the same industry, but used the celebrity to climb and become President. As the first citizen president, Trump’s exchanges on Twitter give the American public the unprecedented access to a president. Instead of constructively using the platform and the president-elect’s ears in a positive way, there is still too much disrespect. The country needs to deal with it whether they like it or not, Trump was elected president according to the Constitution with the support of a majority of the country’s states, they would expect the same if their candidate would have won.
Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. Ms Goodman is an expert in presidential campaigns and election history and she has been covering American elections as a journalist since 2004.