The View’s Meghan McCain objected to what she described as “hyperbole” when it came to describing overcrowded and filthy border detention centers as torture facilities and concentration camps, directly invoking her late father’s experience in a POW camp during the Vietnam War.
During Tuesday’s opening segment, the hosts of the morning chat-fest discussed recent reports that hundreds of migrant children had to be removed from a Texas border facility due to unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
After co-host Sunny Hostin noted several children have recently died in immigration custody, blaming it on a “lack of empathy” by the Trump administration, McCain jumped in to quibble about semantics.
Conceding that the conditions in the centers are “horrific” and that this is a “total humanitarian crisis,” the former Fox News personality took issue with experts “calling these places ‘torture facilities.’”
“I understand it’s a humanitarian crisis,” McCain exclaimed. “It’s horrific to detain—like you said, people in jail get soap and toothpaste. But I know what a torture facility looks like. I’ve been to one.”
As liberal co-host (and frequent sparring partner) Joy Behar attempted to interject, McCain raised a finger and snapped back: “Listen to me. Excuse me!”
“When you have a facility whose specific purpose is to torture people, that is not what’s going on,” the conservative co-host shouted. “Yes, it’s inhumane but there’s a big difference between a Hanoi Hilton and what’s happening at the border right now!”
McCain’s father, the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), spent five-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war in the Hoa Lo Prison—colloquially known as the “Hanoi Hilton”—after he was shot down following a bombing mission in North Vietnam in 1967.
Hostin, meanwhile, remarked that people should be “less concerned about what we’re calling” the detention centers and more concerned about “what goes on inside of them.”
“I don’t care what we’re calling them,” she continued. “Kids are dying inside of them. We should care about the dead kids that have come out of them.”
McCain, however, wasn’t convinced.
“Well, my father couldn’t lift me above his head as a child because of his torture wounds so I do think that hyperbole is important,” she stated.
Behar would later say that while the detention camps may not have been intended as torture facilities, they ultimately “turned out to be torturous,” prompting McCain to complain that the use of terms like “concentration camp” and “torture center” is “when you get people to stop paying attention” to the issue.
“Calling it a concentration camp, in a very strange way, has put the focus on the situation,” Behar contended, referencing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) description of the centers.
“And it worked for you,” McCain shot back. “It didn’t work for me as a conservative Republican.”