The daughter of late Senator John McCain got passionate as the panel discussed the treatment of U.S. veterans

By Aurelie Corinthios
October 29, 2019 02:58 PM

Whoopi Goldberg wants to make sure everyone’s voice gets heard on The View.

Tuesday’s episode of the ABC talk show opened with a discussion about the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who is testifying today about President Donald Trump‘s July phone call with Ukraine’s president. According to a copy of his statement obtained by CNN, Vindman plans to tell House impeachment investigators that he was so troubled by the call that he reported his concerns to a superior.

As the discussion shifted to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham calling Vindman’s loyalty into question on her show, and whether her attempt to damage his credibility could work, co-host Meghan McCain passionately argued that “any veteran deserves our respect.”

“There is this trend in American politics where we are criticizing veterans,” she said, going on to call out Hillary Clinton, who recently raised concerns that the Russians are “grooming” a Democrat to run as a third-party presidential candidate and champion their interests. Her comments were widely understood to have been directed at Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“We saw it with Tulsi Gabbard last week, with Hillary Clinton calling her into question for this exact same thing, saying she was a Russian asset,” McCain said. “This language is like McCarthyism. So if you have a problem with what Laura Ingraham did to Mr. Vindman —”

Co-host Joy Behar interrupted to defend Clinton, saying, “She didn’t say [Gabbard] was an asset.”

“Excuse me, I’m not finished,” McCain said.

“I know you’re not, but I have to correct you,” Behar replied.

“You should have a problem, because you’re questioning people’s loyalty to America who have fought and served,” McCain said. “Tulsi Gabbard enlisted after 9/11 and served for 12 months, and by the way, is currently in the Army National Guard, and Hillary Clinton is coming in questioning her loyalty to the United States.”

“If you are questioning Tulsi Gabbard and you are questioning Mr. Vindman right now, I don’t understand where we come into place, where we can question people who have sacrificed and served in war, right now, in the American dialogue,” McCain continued. “I don’t like it when Laura Ingraham did it last night, I don’t like it when Hillary Clinton does it to Tulsi Gabbard. I think it sets a very, very bizarre precedent.”

McCain, who is the daughter of the late Senator John McCain, himself a war hero, insisted that we “should not be questioning” the loyalty of “soldiers who have fought and sacrificed and served for this country.”

“People who put their life on the line for America and freedom, their loyalty to America should not be questioned,” she said. “And I’m not going to sit here and do it.”

When Behar argued that “just because somebody served does not ipso facto make them above reproach,” McCain fired back, “For me and where I come from, it does.”

“If you are putting your life on the line for freedom, yes,” she said. “Soldiers in this country and veterans and people who have lived and fought for freedom get a pass from me.”

Then moderator Goldberg interrupted, asking everyone to “just take a breath.”

“Everybody has something to say at the table, we really do want to hear from everybody, but we’re starting to do that thing,” she warned.

“I don’t know what that means, ‘that thing,'” McCain said.

“It means you’re talking over each other,” Goldberg explained.

“Well, it’s The View,” McCain argued.

“It is The View. You know what, let me tell you something about The View,” Goldberg said. “This show has always had the ability to have different points of view, which we respect around the table. And when we talk to each other, we also exhibit respect. So when I’m saying to you, ‘Hold up, because we’re not hearing each other,’ I’m not trying to cut you off — I’m trying to get you heard.”

Prince Williams/Wireimage; Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Though McCain again tried to interrupt, Goldberg cut to commercial. After they returned from break, McCain detailed how her personal history has shaped her view on the subject.

“My brother deployed when I was 19 to Iraq and he was 17,” she said. “My parents had to sign a slip for him to go early and for me, the freedoms that we take advantage of and take for granted here … I will always give the benefit of doubt to the veteran, and maybe that’s just a cultural difference between you and me.”

“The reason why we’re having this conversation is that [Vindman’s] character is being attacked by Laura Ingraham and other people on the right,” she continued. “The point that I was trying to make is it is something that is being thrown around, in my opinion, bi-partisanly, on both sides about veterans and people who have served. And to me, it is one of the scariest parts about living in America today.”

The panel seemed largely to agree with her point, and the discussion moved on.

McCain, who joined The View as a permanent co-host in October 2017, has been open about the challenges of being the most politically conservative person on the panel. During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen last month, she addressed her often-combative stance on the show, admitting that she does feel insecure in her gig.

“I go in assuming I’m going to be fired every day,” she said. “Every single day. Yes, every day.”

Asked by Cohen if she ever thought she actually came close to getting fired, McCain said no.

“It’s more the tone we are [at] culturally — people get canceled so easily,” she explained. “And by the way, Joy has this same thing, because we are the most honest and raw. And we’re always going to say something that is going to be too far one way. So I say it sort of jokingly, but sort of not.”

As tough as it can be, McCain said she gets along well with all of herco-hosts, even Behar.

“I think everyone in America is having a really hard time expressing their view. But vibe-wise, I’m actually more comfortable with the main five hosts that I work with every day than I was with last year,” she said.

“Joy and I are pretty good,” she added. “We can both let it roll off pretty quick because I think she gets that we’re good sparring partners.”

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