John Bolton defends book title after Meghan McCain calls it 'insulting' to 'Hamilton' fans

On Wednesday’s episode of "The View," former national security adviser John Bolton defended the title of his new tell-all book.

The "Room Where It Happened" bears a similarity to a song title from the hit musical, "Hamilton," “The Room Where It Happens.” "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda recently tweeted about the book title and his song, accusing Bolton of writing “a cash-in book.”

Quick history refresh: The song “The Room Where It Happens” depicts an event in American history known as the “dinner table bargain”: a secretive meeting in 1790 between Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and Rep. James Madison. 

Long story short: the closed-door compromise resulted in Washington, D.C., situated on the Potomac in exchange for the brand new nation absorbing the states’ debts. Hamilton portrays it as an undemocratic, under-the-table deal-making moment, which is McCain’s point. 

But Bolton took a rosier view of the incident in his rebuttal, starting with a surprising revelation.

“Look, I’m a fan of 'Hamilton,' too,” he said. “That was one of the original compromises of American government, one of the most important things that happened, so I don’t see why people should be upset about the depiction of that event, where to this day, nobody really does exactly know what happened at that dinner in the room where that compromise was made.”

Video Transcript

MEGHAN MCCLAIN: Do you understand why fans of "Hamilton" and Lin-Manuel Miranda would be angry at your book title?

JOHN BOLTON: Look, I am a fan of "Hamilton" too.

- On Wednesday's episode of "The View," former national security advisor John Bolton defended the title of his new tell-all book. "The Room Where It Happened" bears a similarity to a song from the hit musical "Hamilton," titled, "The Room Where It Happens." "Hamilton" creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda recently tweeted about the book title and his song, accusing Bolton of a "cash-in." Meghan McCain continued that critique.

MEGHAN MCCLAIN: Do you understand why it's a song about someone being unprincipled, not principled. And do you understand why it's insulting of those of us that are fans of "Hamilton" to co-opt art from Lin-Manuel Miranda for your own political purposes?

- But Bolton initially dodged the Hamilton comparisons with his more literal interpretation.

JOHN BOLTON: The phrase "in the room" is a phrase used in Washington 1,000 times a day. So it's a fair use. And I think it summarizes what we were trying to do.

- Quick history refresh. The "Hamilton" song depicts an event known as the Dinner Table Bargain, a secretive meeting in 1790 between Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, and US House Representative James Madison. The closed-door compromise resulted in Washington DC being situated on the Potomac in exchange for the brand new nation absorbing the state's debt. "Hamilton," the musical, portrays it as an undemocratic, under-the-table deal-making moment, which is McCain's point. But Bolton, a "Hamilton" fan and a student of history, had a rebuttal ready.

JOHN BOLTON: That is one of the original compromises of American government, one of the most important things that happened. So I don't see why people should be upset about the depiction of that event.

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