"Abby and I have been friends for over 10 years," Meghan McCain said

By Natalie Stone and Ashley Boucher
January 30, 2020 12:52 AM
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Andy Cohen didn’t hold back while Meghan McCain was in the hot seat on Wednesday’s Watch What Happens Live.

Hours after 35-year-old McCain co-hosted The View with fellow panelists Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin, the conservative TV personality sat down with Cohen for his live late-night Bravo show.

During the interview, Cohen, 51, pressed McCain about swirling rumors of behind-the-scenes drama on The View, as well as where her relationship stands with former co-host Abby Huntsman.

“Abby and I have been friends for over 10 years. Our parents were friends in politics, we worked at Fox together. Part of the reason she came to The View is because we were friends. We are still very good friends. We are very close. I just talked to her yesterday morning. She’s campaigning with her dad. I think she was genuinely conflicted about her dad running for governor and her not helping, and that is the reason why she left,” McCain said of Huntsman, who left The View to instead work on her dad’s campaign to be Utah’s governor.

McCain then went on to admit, “we did get in a fight, which is a very small fight and a friend fight. And all friendships have ups and downs.”

“It was sort of bizarre for me, and I think bizarre for her, to have — the fact that we got in one fight the two years that we worked together on the show, to be put under dissection in the media, to be weaponized,” explained McCain, who called the story being leaked “cruel.”

“This has been a really, really rough few weeks for me because I didn’t want her to go, selfishly, because I thought she was an amazing co-host and just having a friend there has been lovely,” said McCain. “But it’s been really emotionally taxing to have like our friendship used this way in the media. It’s taken a real toll on me.”

While McCain is uncertain of who leaked the story, she said she wishes it “would stop because again, I think we are working on a very intense show during intense times .. and I’m just trying to go in and do my job and interview presidential candidates and try and help women of the country decide if they want to support the president.”

She also denied that she was going to resign before Huntsman did.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, MEGHAN MCCAIN
Abby Huntsman, Meghan McCain
| Credit: Paula Lobo/ABC via Getty Images; Theo Wargo/Getty Images

“First of all, if I was going to resign, there would be no crypticism about it. I would be like, ‘I’m out.’ Like it would not be like a long, drawn-out thing,” said McCain, who went on to forgive Goldberg for telling her to stop talking during a View episode before the show went to break.

“She was having a bad day and we talked about it that night and the next day,” said McCain. “You know, it’s live TV and it’s really intense, stressful times for everyone and I adore her. She apologized off air, she apologized on air. We all f— up on the show. It’s live, it’s every day and I forgive her, I love her.”

Though McCain isn’t leaving, she said she would if Goldberg decides to. “If she leaves, I go,” said McCain. “Like, Whoopi is the anchor of the show and my life there and she always picks us up when we’re down. But if she jumps, I jump. Whoopi, I adore her and I need her as the moderator.”

Meghan McCain, andy cohen
Meghan McCain and Andy Cohen
| Credit: JB Lacroix/WireImage; Theo Wargo/Getty Images

“I’m a person, and I have feelings, and I’m just trying to do a good job,” McCain said. Concluding her thought on the rumors about her relationship with Hunstman, McCain added, “I don’t think this is a totally fair shake using our friendship in the way that it has been used.”

After two seasons on The View, Huntsman said farewell on Jan. 17. While she spoke fondly about what her time on The View had meant to her, Huntsman also set the record straight concerning rumors about her and McCain.

“This show, people go nuts with rumors on this show, and this week has been no exception,” she said, referring to a fresh wave of reports in CNN and elsewhere about tensions between the co-hosts, including her and McCain.

“But I just want to be as clear as I possibly can,” Huntsman, 33, continued. “This has been a dream come true. This has been an incredible job, and I do love everyone at this table. You guys see the ups and downs of all of our [lives] — Meghan has been — you’ve seen what she’s been through in her life, you guys live it with us. And it’s not easy to come out here and be so open and honest and talk about the hardest topics of the day. I have so much respect for everyone at this table and for everyone at this show.”

McCain, a friend since their time together at Fox News, said, “You better come back.”

“I will,” Huntsman told her.

Huntsman’s exit came a week after McCain was absent from The View on Thursday, Jan. 9 due to “family reasons,” a source told PEOPLE. McCain, who joined The View as a permanent co-host in October 2017, had already planned to take a personal day that Friday, according to the source.

McCain’s absence came on the heels of reports that her relationship with co-hosts Goldberg, Huntsman, Behar and Hostin has been strained following a heated fight in December about the ongoing impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump.

“It’s The View. These are passionate women who come to the table with that passion and their beliefs and these conversations happen,” said the source.

While this isn’t the first time McCain had clashed with her co-hosts, the conservative panelist maintains that they still get along.

During Wednesday’s appearance on WWHL, McCain also put to rest any rumors that she doesn’t talk to her co-hosts.

“Good lord, yes,” McCain said after a fan called in to ask if her co-hosts spoke to her off the air. “I mean, and again, anyone who comes to the show, I mean Joy and I are oftentimes off in the corner talking about like things we hit and things we missed during the break. So I think you can’t work on a show where the hosts don’t speak.”

“Again, I think I was called like the ‘lone wolf’ — like, obviously I’m the lone wolf, I’m the only conservative on the show. We’re going to disagree on things,” she said, adding that she “sure as hell” hopes that the seat vacated by Huntsman is filled with another conservative.

“Because it’s rough out there,” she said.

MEGHAN MCCAIN
Meghan McCain
| Credit: Heidi Gutman/Getty Images

Recently, McCain returned to her home state of Arizona — the first time since her father died in August 2018.

While she was there, she recreated a photo she once took with the late Sen. John McCain.

Prior to the trip, McCain told PEOPLE that she was “really looking forward to having some much-needed family time” and recreational activities while back home.

While in the Grand Canyon state, McCain shared a new photo that recreated a moment when she and her father looked out over the hillside in Cornville, Arizona, which the former 2008 Republican presidential nominee called home.

“512 days,” the caption read, highlighting how long it had been since Sen. McCain’s death on Aug. 25, 2018.

The old photo showed McCain sitting on a bench alongside her father, while the new image featured the View co-host sitting alone and looking out over the same hillside with the American flag next to her.