President-elect Donald Trump has been unmerciful in condemning the cast and crew of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” since Friday night, when his running mater, Mike Pence, attended a showing. Pence arrived at the theater to a smattering of applause and boos and then had to endure a cringeworthy lecture from one of the lead actors while trying to leave the venue.
“We, sir, 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,” said actor Brandon Victor Dixon from the stage. “But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.”
Over the weekend, this embarrassing plea rankled Trump, who issued several tweets responding to the cast. “The Theater must always be a safe and special place,” Trump wrote on Saturday. “The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”
On Sunday, Trump wrote, “The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior.”
For his part, Pence appeared unfazed by the Broadway tantrum.
“I know this is a very disappointing time for people that did not see their candidate win in this national election. I know that this is a very anxious time for some people,” Pence said on Fox News Sunday. “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.”
Asked about the boos, Pence said he used it as a teachable moment.
“I nudged my kids and reminded them, that’s what freedom sounds like,” Pence said.
In that response, we can see why Pence was such a genius choice for Trump to make – even if he went along with it reluctantly. Pence is the necessary counterweight to Trump’s constant-fifth-gear approach to public relations. If you can take that kind of blatant disrespect and come out praising the attackers, you’re one cool customer.