Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Things got heated on The View when conservative co-host Meghan McCain derailed the conversation by complaining about liberal hypocrisy before inevitably invoking her father, the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
At the top of Tuesday’s broadcast of the ABC chatfest, the panel focused on the seemingly coordinated attacks by right-wing pundits on White House official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who will testify that he heard President Donald Trump pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rivals.
With the table unified in their disgust over pro-Trump pundits questioning Vindman’s loyalty because he was born in Ukraine, McCain threw a wrench into the conversation by comparing these attacks to Hillary Clinton’s suggestions about Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.
“Where everyone is losing me is there’s a trend in politics where people are criticizing veterans,” McCain grumbled. “We saw it with Tulsi Gabbard last week, with Hillary Clinton saying she was a Russian asset. This is like McCarthyism. If you have a problem with what Laura Ingraham did.”
“Excuse me, I’m not done,” McCain continued after frequent sparring partner Joy Behar tried to interject. “You should have a problem because you’re questioning people’s loyalty to America who have fought and served. Tulsi Gabbard enlisted after 9/11 and served for 12 months and is currently in the National Guard. Hillary Clinton is coming in questioning her loyalty to the United States.”
This naturally prompted pushback from Behar, who insisted that Clinton wasn’t questioning Gabbard’s loyalty. McCain, meanwhile, stood by her argument while clarifying her larger point: Military veterans should never be questioned.
“Hold on a second, just because somebody served does not ipso facto make them above reproach,” Behar exclaimed at one point.
“For me, where I come from, it does,” McCain shot back. “I’m sorry, serving in Iraq in a war zone as a medic and what he did as well—by the way, his brother, Alexander Vindman, also serves and both of them have Purple Hearts. I just don’t understand, for me, yeah, you get a pass for a lot of reasons.”
“Automatically?” Behar wondered.
“If you’re putting your life on the line for freedom, the soldiers in this country and veterans get a pass from me,” McCain declared.
Co-host Whoopi Goldberg, meanwhile, jumped in and put an end to the bickering, noting that they were “starting to do that thing”—a reference to, well, you know, the hundreds of other times the pair have fought—and needed to show respect around the table and not talk “over each other.”
Following a commercial break, they resumed the conversation on whether or not those who served in the military should always be given the benefit of the doubt, with Behar stating that there have been American soldiers who have committed treasonous and criminal acts.
“But for me, one thing that’s lauded at my family is that my father was a war criminal, because while he was being tortured he conceded that he had committed war crimes because he was being tortured to the point of broken,” McCain responded. “So throwing the word ‘war crime’ for me is something that’s very intense, something that by the way I’m still dealing with today.”
After once again saying she will always give military members the benefit of the doubt because of her family, McCain concluded by circling back to her argument about Gabbard and—as was inevitable—ultimately invoking her father.
“The point I was trying to make is it is something that’s being thrown around, in my opinion, bipartisanly on both sides about our veterans and people who have served and to me it is one of the scariest parts of living in America today,” she said. “[Vindman] deserves better respect, Tulsi Gabbard deserves better respect, the Khans deserve better respect, and my dad deserves better respect!”