Mike Pence got a reaction he may not have been expecting on Friday night when a New York audience for Hamilton booed the vice-president elect when he entered the theater. However, the Hamilton snub isn’t the first time Pence has booed in public. Last spring, Pence was also booed when he threw out the first pitch at an Indianapolis Indians game.
Before becoming vice-president elect with his running mate Donald Trump, Pence was the governor of Indiana. Pence’s appearance for the minor league baseball game was intended to be positive, but the crowd turned on him quickly. Boos rained down from the stands, even though the stadium wasn’t even halfway full.
The Washington Post reported that Lindsay Watson, a fan in attendance, said “A lot of people were booing him. There were a few people cheering but not many. More boos than cheers.” Watson also recorded Pence’s first pitch and the video is available via YouTube.
Although it may seem odd that Pence was booed in his own state, his popularity has dropped in Indiana since he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and numerous anti-abortion policies. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act allowed privately owned businesses to refuse service to anyone that they feel infringes upon their religious ideals. For example, the act would allow a Christian-owned bakery to refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Pence has also passed an array of anti-abortion laws during his time as governor of Indiana. Earlier this year, Pence signed a measure that required women who had abortions to bury or cremate the remains of the fetus. Cosmopolitan also pointed out that Pence signed a law that would prevent women from seeking an abortion based on the gender, race, ancestry, or diagnosis of a genetic disorder of the fetus.
The vice-president elect has always described himself as pro-life and Indiana’s abortion laws are some of the most stringent in the country. This fact may be one of the reasons Pence was booed at the Indianapolis Indians game last spring. According to Politico, Pence had a job approval rating of under 40 percent in one May poll so the constituents of Indiana must have vocalized their dissatisfaction during Pence’s first pitch.
Although Pence has been booed before, the vice-president elect hasn’t let the public outcry bother him. Pence didn’t make any statement after the Indianapolis Indians game, and CNN reported that Pence isn’t upset about getting booed at Hamilton. Pence said that the booing crowd was “what freedom sounded like” and chalked up the experience to freedom of speech.
The cast of Hamilton also delivered an aside to Pence during the New York performance. Actor Brandon Victor Dixon addressed Pence on behalf of the cast and said, “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 continued, “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”
Pence also addressed the Hamilton cast’s statements during an interview with Fox News Sunday.“I did hear what was said from the stage. I can tell you I wasn’t offended by what was said. I will leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it,” Pence said.
Although Pence wasn’t offended, his running mate Donald Trump took to Twitter to slam the cast of Hamilton” and demand an apology from the actors. Trump described the incident as “harassment” tweeting on Saturday, “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!”
Trump was upset by Pence’s bout of boos, but the president-elect soon became distracted and slammed Alec Baldwin in Saturday Night Live.
[Featured Image by Richard Drew/AP Images]