Perhaps House Democrats should have thrown away their shot.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her colleagues were criticized Thursday after inviting Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of the Broadway smash “Hamilton” to perform at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“We’re privileged to have a contribution from one of the great creative talents of our time, Lin-Manuel Miranda,” Pelosi said by way of introduction. “May his beautiful words be an inspiration to us.”
In pre-recorded remarks, Miranda said that Americans must “remain committed” to uniting and moving forward together.
“We’re all stewards of the American experiment, working to pass down to our children and our grandchildren a more perfect union that treats all its citizens with fairness and equity,” he said. “We should never take our rights and liberties for granted … we must remain committed to finding a way forward together. That’s what I wrote about in the song ‘Dear Theodosia’ from ‘Hamilton.’ I believe no challenge is worth abandoning our efforts to unite as Americans. We will keep working generation after generation until we reach that someday.”
After Miranda spoke, several members of different tour casts launched into a version of “Dear Theodosia,” which is sung in the show by Aaron Burr to his infant daughter.
Video of the virtual performance quickly spread across social media, with many criticizing it as inappropriate.
“Some of the absolute dumbest and most out of touch people on the face of the planet run this country,” sports blogger Anthony Irwin wrote.
“Having a real hard time coming to grips with the deadly riot being commemorated by ‘Dear Theodosia,’” posted the New York Times’ Evan Hill .
Wave TV producer Zach Schwartz wrote, “dude …. how are you so f—ing bad at this? this literally was an open court layup and this is what you chose to do???”
“This a deleted scene from ‘Don’t Look Up,’” SNY anchor Chris Williamson said, referring to the recent Adam McKay Netflix film.
“Makes sense. Both are political theater,” former US diplomat Alberto Miguel Fernandez tweeted.
“All I ask of my Democratic coalition partners is to act like we are in a grave and protracted crisis of democracy, and this isn’t that,” The Atlantic contributing writer Tom Nichols posted.
“Jan. 6 will increasingly be seen by historians as just one pitched battle in the long-running snark vs. smarm debate,” tweeted Texas Monthly senior editor Christopher Hooks.
Historian Dr. Joanne Freeman was slightly more charitable, posting: “I … didn’t expect this,” before adding: “But yes indeed, our nation needs to ‘come of age’ with some thought towards the promise of the future.”
“Our democracy is in the hands of the worst possible ‘defenders’ and when it’s completely gone no one should wonder why or how it happened,” wrote freelance photojournalist Scott Heins.
Santi Pochat, Google’s head of social lab, predicted that the choice of performer meant Democrats were “definitely losing the midterms.”
Others compared the video to a similarly “cringe-worthy” clip of several celebrities led by actress Gal Gadot singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” at the beginning of the COIVD-19 pandemic.
“We owe Gal Gadot an apology,” New York Times national politics reporter Astead Wesley posted.
“Are they going to show the Gal Gadot ‘Imagine’ video, too?” mocked journalist Glenn Greenwald.
The musical number came hours after President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris delivered remarks to mark the riot’s anniversary.
During her speech, Harris drew criticism for comparing the attack on the Capitol to Pearl Harbor and 9/11, with many slamming her comments as hyperbole.