Pence says he ‘wasn’t offended’ by ‘Hamilton’ as Trump continues to demand an apology – Washington Post
Vice President-elect Mike Pence said he was not offended by the message that the Broadway cast of “Hamilton” directed at him after Friday night’s performance and that he “really enjoyed the show.”
Speaking to “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, Pence acknowledged that he was greeted by a mix of boos and cheers when he arrived at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City with his daughter and her cousins.
“I nudged my kids and reminded them that’s what freedom sounds like,” Pence said.
Knowing Pence was in the audience, the cast of “Hamilton” did not throw away its shot.
After the show, several dozen of the musical’s cast members zeroed in on Pence during their curtain call. Brandon Victor Dixon — the actor who plays Aaron Burr — stepped forth and cut through the applause.
“You know, we have a guest in the audience this evening,” he said to audience laughter. “And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you walking out, but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments. There’s nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen. There’s nothing to boo here. We’re all here sharing a story of love. We have a message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out.”
As he pulled a small piece of paper from his pocket, Dixon encouraged people to record and share what he was about to say “because this message needs to be spread far and wide.”
“Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ We really do,” Dixon said to further applause. “We, sir, 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. All of us. Again, we truly thank you truly for seeing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations.”
Pence reportedly was leaving the auditorium before Dixon finished speaking, but told Wallace that he heard the full message.
“I did hear what was said from the stage, and I can tell you, I wasn’t offended by what was said,” Pence said. “I’ll leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it.”
He added that he wanted to address the cast’s message.
“I know this is a very disappointing time for people that did not see their candidate win in this national election. I know this is a very anxious time for some people,” Pence said. “And I just want to reassure people that what President-elect Donald Trump said on election night, he absolutely meant from the bottom of his heart. He is preparing to be the president of all of the people of the United States of America.”
Pence’s comments — in their tone and substance — were sharply different from those of Donald Trump on the incident.
The “Hamilton” cast’s unusual address quickly went viral and Twitter exploded late Friday night with responses that cleaved into two camps: Those who cheered the cast for voicing their concerns so directly and those who found the exchange “rude.”
In the latter was Trump, who said that the cast members had “harassed” Pence with “cameras blazing” and demanded they apologize.
Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing.This should not happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016
“The Theater must always be a safe and special place,” Trump tweeted as a follow-up. “The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”
Trump would continue to tweet about the “Hamilton” into the next day, insisting at 6:22 a.m. Sunday that the cast and producers of the show, “which I hear is highly overrated,” should apologize to Pence.
As The Post’s Phillip Rucker noted, during his campaign, Trump sometimes posted provocative tweets to attract the attention of the news media. Regardless of whether that was his intent over the weekend, Trump’s tweets about “Hamilton” immediately followed a negative news story that broke late Friday: Trump had agreed to a $25 million settlement to end the fraud cases pending against Trump University, his defunct real estate seminar program.
Trump tweeted Saturday that he only settled because he “did not have the time to go through a long but winning trial on Trump U. Too bad!”
“Hamilton,” a musical about the rise of Alexander Hamilton from his humble beginnings as an orphan and an immigrant to become one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, has a famously diverse cast. One of its oft-touted lyrics — “Immigrants, we get the job done!” — attracted a standing ovation in the middle of Friday’s show, according to theatergoers who were in the room where it happened. (The lyric also appeared on a sign Friday night just outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre, where dozens had gathered to protest Pence, and reportedly triggered an outburst by a Trump supporter at a Saturday evening performance of “Hamilton” in Chicago, according to Broadway.com.)
By Saturday, both #NameAPenceMusical and #BoycottHamilton were trending on Twitter. Dixon, the actor who read the message at “Hamilton,” responded to Trump on Twitter, saying that conversation did not amount to harassment and that he appreciated that Pence stopped to listen.
@realDonaldTrump conversation is not harassment sir. And I appreciate @mike_pence for stopping to listen.
— Brandon Victor Dixon (@BrandonVDixon) November 19, 2016