What Boycott? Pence ‘Not Offended,’ Urges Americans To See ‘Hamilton’
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence said on Sunday he was not offended by rare and pointed comments made to him by a cast member of Hamilton after he attended the hit Broadway show.
“I wasn’t offended,” Pence said on Fox News Sunday, declining to ask for an apology as President-elect Donald Trump had demanded.
Pence acknowledged that many Americans were disappointed and anxious after Trump’s surprise Nov. 8 election victory following a raucous campaign, but he sought to reassure Americans that Trump would be a president “for all Americans.”
After the show on Friday evening, Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays America’s third vice president, Aaron Burr, read a statement directed at Pence, who was in the audience, while standing in front of the cast in full costume.
“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,” Dixon said.
Pence sought to address Dixon’s concerns, telling CBS in a separate interview that Trump has “a great heart. He’s got heart for the American people” and wanted to reassure “anyone, including the actor who spoke that night, that President-elect Donald Trump is going to be president of all the people.”
Trump criticized the cast in a series of tweets on Saturday and again on Sunday.
“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!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday, taking time out from his search for appointees to his incoming administration.
“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!”
Pence praised the hit show and urged people to see it. Trump called the sold-out show “highly overrated” on Sunday.
Pence noted that there were some boos and cheers when he arrived at the theater. He recalled telling his family of the response: “That’s what freedom sounds like.”
Hamilton is a hip-hop-infused musical that tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, a penniless immigrant who rose to become the right-hand man of General George Washington, as well as a key figure in the creation of the U.S. financial system and the creator of the U.S. Coast Guard. He was killed in an 1804 duel with Burr.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Alan Crosby)
IMAGE: Vice President Elect Mike Pence speaks to members of the news media upon his arrival at Trump Tower in New York City, November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar