Call me a skeptic, but I think Donald Trump and his inner circle are getting much delight out of all the shock and awe that they continue to elicit from the mainstream press, as well as citizens of this country; and I can’t help but think that it’s all part of some calculated strategy with an end goal that I’m not entirely certain of at this point. Trump may be thought of as a clown by half of the country, but he’s not dumb. And he’s surrounded himself with some intelligent people, like Steve Bannon who allegedly previously said that he’d like to “destroy the state,” to “bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment” – both the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional press – and replace them with Tea Party populist goals.
Given all the ugliness that he (Bannon) has been associated with since he became Trump’s chief strategist (during the campaign and after), he certainly hasn’t gone out of his way to challenge or dismiss any of it. Although he hasn’t done the opposite either; so what’s left is a vacuum, a mystery around who he really is and what he really believes and stands for. And I think that’s all by desgin.
All that said, I’m sure you’re all fully aware of the message delivered by the “Hamilton” cast to vice president-elect Mike Pence over the weekend that has drawn a strong response on and off Broadway, from all sides. Via his Twitter account, Trump called the hit musical “overrated” and demanded that the cast apologize. “Hamilton” star Brandon Victor Dixon, who delivered the cast statement, was singled out by Trump in a second tweet, calling him “very rude and insulting.” That tweet was later deleted without a comment or explanation from the president-elect, but the first tweet remains.
It’s not clear to me whether Trump and his inner circle understand the power his words carry, especially given the significance and reach of the office he has now won and will take over in about 2 months. Since his reckless tweets, Brandon Victor Dixon has been the victim of growing bitterly hostile attacks that have, thus far, been contained within the social media sphere, but could potentially pose real threats to his safety, given the kind of language I’ve seen used by Trump supporters filling up his fan pages with some really virulent assaults. Some even found their way into the S&A social media space, as they are apparently searching the web for anything related to Dixon, and are essentially protesting articles written about him – in our case, a recent casting notice for the actor, announcing his joining the cast of Starz’s “Power.”
“Boycott ‘Power’!”, a few have tweeted, while linking to the S&A announcement of Dixon’s casting last month. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here when I say that it’s unlikely that the average Trump supporter watches “Power” anyway.
But if something were to happen to Dixon – like some racist inspired by the president-elect, actually physically harms the actor – would Trump be held accountable? A man now in a very powerful position who won’t even denounce the rise in hate crimes against minority groups, done in his name, since he won the election; yet he goes after a Broadway musical cast who quite respectfully called on his vice president-elect to recognize their humanity and govern with consideration given to their concerns.
Dixon joined “CBS This Morning” earlier today to address the criticism he’s faced over the entire fiasco, saying that he has nothing to apologize for; he also discussed Lin-Manuel Miranda’s involvement in the process.
Watch the clip below: