It is well documented that President-elect Donald Trump does not take criticism well and often turns to Twitter to lash out against any perceived gibe. During the campaign, Trump’s Twitter fights often coincided with unfavorable news about him, and his outrageous tweets would consume the news cycle and overshadow any other news.
Over the weekend, Trump unleashed another series of tweets that dominated the news. But rather than tweeting to condemn the roughly 700 hate incidents committed in his name since he was elected, or to blast the white supremacists celebrating his top administration personnel, Trump instead picked a fight with the Broadway hit musical “Hamilton.”
Trump fired off a series of tweets over the course of two days calling the show “highly overrated” and the cast “harassing,” “very rude” and demanding they apologize after the show appealed to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was in attendance, to ensure the incoming administration respected all Americans.
The news — the video of the Hamilton cast members, along with Trump’s tweet responses — was picked up around the world and dominated any other coverage, including news that Trump had settled his Trump University fraud lawsuit for $25 million, a fraction of what he was accused of taking from students.
In fact, The New York Times print edition featured the “Hamilton” story on its front page above the fold, while the fraud settlement appeared below the fold.
Trump did tweet about the settlement after the news came out but said he settled only because he did not “have the time” to go to trial — not because he was at fault.
Meanwhile, his feud with “Hamilton,” as well as with “Saturday Night Live” on Sunday, further served to divert attention from additional allegations of corruption.
His new hotel in Washington, D.C., was marketing to diplomats hoping to win favor with Trump. One diplomat told The Washington Post: “Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new President, ‘I love your new hotel!’ Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor'”
Another incident also overshadowed by the “Hamilton” “controversy” was Trump’s meeting with Indian real estate developers who previously had built Trump-branded properties in India and whose meeting raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest.
The Hamilton conflict also helped to mute the discussion of Trump’s top picks of white supremacist Steve Bannon to a top White House role, or his selection of the racist Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the next attorney general.
‘Hamilton’ Actor Says No Apology Needed for Remarks to Pence
Hamilton actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who read the statement to Pence, on Monday said he would not apologize for the remarks.
While Trump demanded the cast apologize, Pence himself said on Sunday he was not offended, and declined to ask for an apology.
Dixon, who played America’s third vice president, Aaron Burr, in the show, told CBS there was no need for the cast to apologize.
Standing in front of the cast members, who are of diverse race and ethnicity although they play historical figures who were white, Dixon told Pence after Friday night’s performance in New York: “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 defended the cast statement on Monday, saying the actors wanted “to stand up and spread a message of love and unity” following the bitterly divisive election campaign that culminated in Trump’s surprise win on November 8.
“There’s nothing to apologize for,” Dixon told CBS. “Conversation is not harassment.”
He said Trump was welcome to see the show as well, adding that he appreciated that Pence listened and that “it was the beginning of a conversation that I hope we can continue to have.”
“Art is meant to bring people together, it’s meant to raise consciousness,” Dixon said.
Reuters material was used in this report.