On Friday night, Vice President-elect Mike Pence decided to start enjoying some of the benefits afforded to a person whose political status has just risen unpredictably high by taking in a showing of the smash-hit Broadway sensation Hamilton. Unfortunately for Pence, he happens to have a bit of a reputation for being anti-gay and anti-education, so the rest of the Hamilton audience decided to express it’s opinion of Pence with a stream of boos and jeers hurled in his general direction. Then, after the show, the Hamilton cast stepped forward and directly addressed Pence, expressing that “the diverse America” is “alarmed and anxious” about whether or out Donald Trump’s administration will truly do its best to protect them, their children, and their “inalienable rights.”
It came across as a respectful and heartfelt plea for unity, so Trump naturally took it as a vicious attack and a grievous insult. He proceeded to spend a lot of his Saturday denouncing Hamilton and demanding apologies from the cast, but in a direct illustration of the differences between someone who has spent years as a politician and someone who has spent years yelling at C-level celebrities on a reality show, Pence himself has decided to take a more even-handed approach.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Pence appeared on Fox News Sunday this morning and discussed the incident, explaining that he “wasn’t offended” by what the cast said onstage—which, again, was basically “we’re worried that you’ll hurt us”—and that he truly believes Trump intends to keep his election night promise by looking out for the best interests of all Americans. Regarding the audiences’ booing, he says he nudged his kids and told them “that’s what freedom sounds like,” which he presumably meant as an important lesson in American values and not a venomous dismissal of freedom itself. (The fact that a comment like that could be interpreted two ways seems like a problem, though.)
Pence also declined to embrace the #BoycottHamilton movement, explaining that he’ll “leave it up to others” to say whether or not the Hamilton cast had chosen the appropriate venue for its statement. He doesn’t seem to think boycotting the show is a good idea, though, because he says Hamilton is “an incredible production” put on by “incredibly talented people.” He also notes that it’s a “great, great show” and that anyone who hasn’t seen it should go.
That’s a pretty amazing endorsement coming from a guy who was openly booed by the audience, and it would probably be even more meaningful if it were possible for people who aren’t Mike Pence to get Hamilton tickets.