“A new chapter in The View history starts now because we have a new co-host,” began Whoopi Goldberg in her introduction. “She’s a strong voice for young conservatives, a bestselling author and blogger who has been fearless, speaking out about issues that affect women and all Americans.”
“She definitely has got some maverick in her, ’cause she’s got a maverick dad who was a hero on the battlefield and in D.C.,” continued Goldberg, 61, of the former Fox News contributor and daughter of Sen. John McCain. “Please welcome our new co-host, Meghan McCain!”
McCain, 32, emerged from backstage and took her seat the table.
“First of all, thank you all so much for having me,” she gushed. “It’s such a privilege to be on this show. Last night I was watching re-runs with my friends — I had a tiny little party at my apartment because I haven’t been back in New York in a long time, and it’s such an iconic show.”
“It’s so iconic specifically to be sitting in this chair that Elisabeth [Hasselbeck] made so great,” she continued. “I watched Elisabeth in college as a young Republican, and to be the conservative on this show is something that I take very seriously, and I’m excited to bring a different perspective to this show.”
Quipping that she and co-host Joy Behar probably aren’t “going to agree on anything,” McCain also took a moment to thank Goldberg for welcoming her onto the show.
“Whoopi, people don’t understand how incredible you are to young talent,” she said. “When I first came on this show, I was really green, I was 23, really nervous, and you were such a supporter of women and young women.”
“You’ve always been so amazing to me, which is why I was comfortable coming here,” she added. “You’ve been incredible to me, and we may have had an off-the-record phone call before I accepted this job to make sure everything was okay. You’re the mentor and first lady of The View, and I think it’s incredible that you’ve been so amazing to everyone.”
“I’m very, very excited,” she continued. “And my parents are very excited and have encouraged me to come do this, which I think people should know. … They’re endlessly proud and excited.”
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McCain choked up while discussing her father’s battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive stage 4 brain cancer.
“I haven’t talked about it yet, and I knew this would be hard,” she said. “I spent the last three months while he was getting radiation and chemotherapy — and I can’t believe I’m freaking crying already — but when you hear ‘cancer,’ a nuclear explosion goes off in your life, no matter who you are. And I didn’t realize, because you can’t realize until you experience it, how intense and disruptive and scary and hopeless and chaotic you feel all day long. The doctors and nurses and cancer researchers who have taken care of my family, and who take care of everyone, are the heroes in my life.”
“It is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my entire life,” she continued. “I don’t know how people do it at all. It is the most chaotic, difficult, intense thing you could possibly go through, and I’m sitting here today because to take this job so quickly was a struggle, but I want to say that ultimately what tipped it over for me is you all have given me permission to talk about this in real time, to go through what it feels like to have the hero of my life — we are deeply connected, we are deeply close, to the point that I’ve almost been angry we’re so close, because I feel everything so deeply right now — but I want to talk about what cancer feels like, what it feels like as a daughter. We aren’t far enough along with research, and we especially aren’t far enough along with rare cancers.”
Admitting that glioblastoma is a “horrible, horrible hell of a cancer to have,” McCain vowed that she’s committed, “until I die, to helping solve this.”
In mid-September, McCain announced her departure from Outnumbered, the Fox News program she co-hosted since November 2016, tweeting that she left “to focus on other things.”
While she didn’t go into further detail about her plans, CNN Money reported that McCain was in the end stages of replacing The View co-host Jedediah Bila, and a source told PEOPLE that ABC was searching for a conservative talking head to fill the gap.
“They’ve been looking for a conservative voice since Candace [Cameron Bure] left,” the source said. “It’s important to have that at the table, and right now there’s a short list they’re considering. They will move quickly to fill the seat, and we can expect someone soon.”
In addition to Goldberg and Behar, McCain joins Sunny Hostin, Sara Haines and Paula Faris for season 21.
The View airs weekdays (11 a.m. ET) on ABC.