A Donald Trump tweet demanding the cast of Hamilton: An American Musical apologize for using their platform to send a message to his administration instantly overshadowed the conversation about his Trump University settlement.
Asa Bennett, the assistant comment editor for the Telegraph, looked at Google Trends for both topics to see how the Trump tweet shifted the conversation on the social network and the U.S. as a whole.
Google Trends provides an instant snapshot at how many people are searching for a certain topic and allows users to compare search interests in different topics over time, in this case, “trump hamilton” and “trump university.”
On Friday night, Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of Hamilton: An American Musical on Broadway in New York. As the Inquisitr previously reported, audience members booed Pence loudly.
At the curtain call, Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr in the musical, delivered a statement on behalf of the Hamilton cast and producers.
The following morning, a Trump tweet double-bill criticized the cast for the action and suggesting the performers harassing Pence.
The Hamilton story then took on a renewed life, and, according to critics, started drowning out the news that Trump decided to settle suits over Trump University instead of risking a trial.
President-elect Trump on Friday agreed to settle several lawsuits related to Trump University for $25 million, just 10 days before one of them was scheduled to start trial, as The New York Times reported. The lawsuits were somewhat of a distraction for Trump, who is building his administration team, meeting with world leaders, and planning a victory tour before the inauguration.
His decision to settle is a shift from the beginning of the year, before he had won his party’s nomination, as a Trump tweet suggested.
Though Trump typically abhors legal settlements and has made fun of others who agreed to them, settling, in this case, allows Trump to avoid making any acknowledgment of responsibility and to steer clear of potentially taking the stand, which would be an unprecedented sight for a President-elect.
The evidence in the case seemed stacked against Trump, with former employees of Trump University claiming the institution used high-pressure sales strategies and unqualified staff and lecturers to teach at the school. Students had paid up to $35,000 in tuition to learn at Trump University.
In a patented Trump tweet or two, the President-elect explained why he decided to settle and suggested he would have liked to see the lawsuits through in court.
Yet with a prototypical Trump tweet storm Saturday morning, the President-elect was able to shift the discourse from his damaging lawsuits, which he may have not had a choice but to settle to save as much face as possible, to artists delivering a statement to his future vice president.
It’s easy to see why the cast of Hamilton might have had some choice words for Pence. The Vice President-elect has fought for anti-LGBTQ legislation. He was a staunch supporter of a constitutional amendment that would have banned marriage equality and in 2013 signed a bill that would have jailed same-sex couples who applied for a marriage license in Indiana, where he is governor.
Hamilton, meanwhile, employs openly gay, HIV-positive actor Javier Muñoz in the lead role, and, as Dixon said, “a diverse group of men, women of different creeds, colors, and orientations.”
The Trump tweet double salvo shifted the spotlight further from his Trump University settlement and while the cast’s call to Pence to protect them and the diverse residents of America is absolutely newsworthy, whether it should drown out the news of the lawsuit payoff seems a contentious issue.
By virtue of his status as President-elect, every Trump tweet will receive vast volumes of attention and be heavily examined and scrutinized. It might just be that Trump is deliberately deflecting from the Trump University settlement, which is the more damaging story for him and his administration, and knows exactly what he is doing in diverting attention away from that and his contentious administrative appointments.
Nevertheless, the way the discourse changed suddenly on Saturday, as evidenced by Google Trends, showed once again the impact and power of a Trump tweet.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]