Meghan McCain Says Leaving 'The View' 'Was Not an Easy Decision' as She Settles Into Life in D.C.

"I'm just eternally grateful to have had this opportunity here," she said Thursday while announcing her exit to viewers

Meghan McCain has officially announced her exit from The View after nearly four years.

McCain, 36, shared the news with viewers during Thursday's episode of the daily talk show, noting that she will remain until the end of the month. A source told PEOPLE earlier in the day that the decision to leave was McCain's.

"I am just going to rip the Band-Aid off," she began at the top of the episode. "I am here to tell all of you, my wonderful co-hosts and viewers at home, that this is going to be my last season here at The View."

"I will be here through the end of July to finish out the season with all of you which I am grateful for," she continued. "This was not an easy decision. It took a lot of thought and counsel and prayer, and talking to my family and my close friends, and, you know, look — COVID has changed the world for all of us and it changed the way, at least for me, the way I am looking at life, the way I'm living my life, the way I want my life to look like."

McCain went on to cite her life in Washington, D.C. with husband Ben Domenech as a reason for her departure. The couple welcomed their first child, daughter Liberty, last September.

"When I said goodbye to all of you in the studio, over a year and a half ago, I had just found out I was pregnant. I left the city very quickly because my OBGYN wanted me to leave because he wasn't sure about how COVID could possibly impact pregnant women," she recalled. "I came to the D.C. area, which is where my husband and I have always split time, and it's where I grew up splitting time. We have this incredible life here, we're surrounded by my family, his family, by friends, by this incredible support unit."

"I think as any new mom knows, when I think about where I want Liberty to have, you know her first steps and her first words — I just have this really wonderful life here that ultimately, I felt I didn't want to leave," she said.

McCain joined The View as a permanent co-host in October 2017. In addition to McCain, the current panel includes moderator Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin and Sara Haines.

The View
The View panel in 2017. Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty

On Thursday, McCain said it was her dad, the late Sen. John McCain, who encouraged her to join the show in the first place.

"On a professional note, this show is one of the hands down greatest, most exhilarating, wonderful privileges of my entire life — and I have had so many amazing advances in my life, and this is definitely one of the top," she said. "It is a privilege to work alongside such strong, brilliant, intelligent, incredible broadcasters, like the four of you — you are the most talented women on all of television, hands down, and it has been so incredible to be able to do this with you."

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McCain continued, "I didn't want to join the show, as I think I've talked about in the past, and it was my dad who encouraged me to do it. He said that I could never give up an opportunity to work on such an iconic show and to work with Whoopi Goldberg, and he was right."

"It was one of the last things he told me to do before he died, and since we've been here the last four years together we have won an Emmy, we've gone to number one, we've been parodied on Saturday Night Live, we were on the cover my personal favorite, the New York Times Magazine, as the most important political show in America."

John McCain Meghan McCain
Sen. John McCain and Meghan McCain. Heidi Gutman/Walt Disney Television via Getty

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"It is not easy to leave, but I feel like this is just the right decision for me at this moment, and I just want to thank all of you — all of you, Whoopi, Joy, Sunny, Sarah — I also want to thank Abby Huntsman who was a good friend of mine, continues to be a good friend of mine and has really helped me with this decision and ushered me through this process," she said, referencing her former co-host who left The View last year.

"I wish nothing but continued success and good wishes and good luck to all of you, and to the show, and I'm just eternally grateful to have had this opportunity here, so seriously, thank you from the absolute bottom of my heart. And I will still be here another month, so if you guys want to fight a little bit more, we have four more weeks," McCain quipped as she concluded her announcement.

RELATED VIDEO: Meghan McCain Says She Had 'Rough Reentry' to The View After Maternity Leave

As the most politically conservative person on the panel, McCain has regularly sparred with her co-hosts on-air over the years. During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in 2019, she addressed her often-combative stance on the show, admitting at the time to feeling insecure in her gig.

"I go in assuming I'm going to be fired every day," she said. "Every single day. Yes, every day."

The View airs weekdays (11 a.m. ET) on ABC.

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