The View’s already difficult path to replacing Meghan McCain as its resident conservative co-host was made slightly more difficult when one contender made clear she would not get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Fox News contributor Lisa Marie Boothe interviewed with ABC News and The View executives earlier this year, a source close to Boothe told The Daily Beast. Those conservations ended, this person with knowledge of the situation said, after the conservative pundit made clear to the network that she will not get any of the required jabs against the coronavirus.
An ABC News source confirmed to The Daily Beast that the network had conversations with Boothe, among “dozens and dozens” of candidates. The show never had an opportunity to offer her a guest-hosting spot or book a potential date. And once Boothe’s stance on vaccinations became apparent, the source said, further conversation became a “moot point” and a “non-starter” due to the network’s strict policies.
ABC News’ parent company, the Walt Disney Co., currently requires all U.S. employees be vaccinated against the coronavirus. And New York City, where The View tapes its episodes before a live studio audience, now mandates vaccines for all private-sector workers. Fox News requires employees at its NYC headquarters to be vaccinated. Boothe, who is currently based in Miami and revealed this week that she tested positive for COVID-19, did not respond to requests for comment.
It is unclear when exactly The View’s discussions with Boothe took place and then stalled out over her anti-vaccine stance, but the Fox pundit made her position public in the fall. Boothe boasted on Fox News in late October that she hadn’t gotten her COVID-19 shots “as a giant middle finger to Joe Biden’s tyranny.” Weeks later, she outlined her beliefs in a Newsweek opinion column, titled “Why I’m Not Vaccinated.”
“As a healthy 36-year-old woman, COVID-19 does not pose a statistically meaningful threat to my life. I have a 99.97 percent chance of survival,” Boothe wrote at the time. “Why would I get a vaccine for a virus that I do not fear and that isn't a threat to my life—particularly when there is an element of risk from the vaccines?”
She continued: “The vaccine helps protect the vaccinated from dying, but it does not protect the vaccinated from either getting or spreading COVID. In other words, it seems clear to many of us that the vaccine is a personal health benefit, not a public health benefit. Therefore, whether to get vaccinated is a profoundly personal decision, not a public health decision. And not everyone is high-risk.”
Boothe isn’t the only right-wing commentator to be affected by The View’s strict vaccine policy. Jedediah Bila, a former Fox News host who was once The View’s resident conservative host, was forced to tape a guest appearance last month from a remote location because she is not vaccinated.
While relegated to a satellite location, Bila was repeatedly confronted on-air by the show’s hosts over her unvaccinated status, prompting a tense standoff culminating in Sunny Hostin accusing her former colleague of peddling “misinformation” to the show’s audience. Bila would later claim that the show “ambushed” her with a “pre-planned” hit to negatively portray her.
Revelations of Boothe’s fruitless conversations with The View came the same week Politico reported that Kat Timpf, a fellow Fox News contributor, turned down the role to replace McCain “because of the show’s reputation for treating conservatives poorly and her contract with Fox.”
Politico also noted that the daytime talk show’s cast has grown increasingly impatient over the producers’ inability to settle on a permanent conservative host. Since McCain’s departure, the show has tested out a large rotation of right-leaning guest hosts, including former Trump officials Alyssa Farah and Morgan Ortagus, NFL sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, cable-news fixtures Mary Katharine Ham and S.E. Cupp, as well as Republican figures like Condoleezza Rice and Carly Fiorina.
A key problem for the network’s search is the show’s desire for the rare commentator who is credible with right-leaning audiences while also not engaging in the election denialism, baseless conspiracy theorizing, or acid-tongued rhetoric that have become a feature of Trump-era conservatism.
“They are really looking for a unicorn,” a former View staffer said. “They want someone who is going to fight—but not too hard, because they don’t want it to be ugly and bickering.”