WASHINGTON — Donald Trump Jr., shortly after Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican aide and security personnel were shot at a baseball practice in Virginia on Wednesday, took to Twitter to connect the shooting to the recent controversy over a rendition of “Julius Caesar” that features the assassination of a ruler that resembles Donald Trump.
Trump’s son retweeted political commentator Harlan Z. Hill, who opined, “Events like today are EXACTLY why we took issue with NY elites glorifying the assassination of our President.”
Trump Jr. supported the comment, adding: “This.”
The Public Theater in New York City’s “Julius Caesar” has garnered droves of negative attention because the contemporary rendition of William Shakespeare’s classic features a Caesar — who with his blonde hair, suit and long tie — looks like Trump. The play also has Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia, speak in a Slavic accent very much like first lady Melania Trump.
Fox News and other conservative media blasted the play, leading Donald Trump, Jr. to tweet, “Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?”
The subsequent pressure led to Bank of America and Delta to pull their support from the play this week.
In a statement responding Trump Jr.’s tweet, the Public theater said their performance “in no way advocates violence towards anyone.”
“Shakespeare’s play, and our production, make the opposite point: those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic means pay a terrible price and destroy the very thing they are fighting to save,” the statement read.
“For over 400 years, Shakespeare’s play has told this story and we are proud to be telling it again in Central Park. The Public Theater stands completely behind our production of Julius Caesar. We understand and respect the right of our sponsors and supporters to allocate their funding in line with their own values. We recognize that our interpretation of the play has provoked heated discussion; audiences, sponsors and supporters have expressed varying viewpoints and opinions. Such discussion is exactly the goal of our civically-engaged theater; this discourse is the basis of a healthy democracy.”
Donald Trump, Jr. also favorited a tweet on Wednesday that accused “the liberal media” of “radicalizing people against anyone who supports the President by baselessly accusing us of collusion with Russia.”
The tweet, which came from the account @YoungDems4Trump, was in response to President Donald Trump’s message of well wishes to Scalise, who was shot in the hip.
“Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him,” Trump tweeted.
First lady Melania Trump echoed the President when she tweeted, “Thank you to the first responders who rushed in to help protect those who were hurt in Alexandria, VA. My thoughts & prayers to everyone!”
Donald Trump Jr. was not the only Trump son to go after the media after the shooting: Eric Trump critiqued recent coverage of strong stock market growth.
“DOW, S&P 500, NYSE & Russell 2000 ALL at their all-time highs! Zero chance @CNN @MSNBC or the MSM will cover! #401Ks,” Eric Trump tweeted.