The View’s Meghan McCain upped the ante on performative right-wing outrage over U.S. Olympian Gwen Berry’s flag protest on Tuesday, suggesting that Berry’s actions were a “national security issue” that could be weaponized as propaganda by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
And, of course, she also made sure to invoke her father while slamming Berry.
Over the weekend, after winning a bronze medal at the U.S. Track & Field trials in Oregon, Berry turned away from the American flag and draped a t-shirt emblazoned with “Activist Athlete” over her head during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as she stood on the podium. Berry later said she felt “it was a setup” that the anthem was played during her awards ceremony, claiming the organizers did it on purpose. (The anthem is only played once a day during the trials.)
While the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has said it will allow some forms of demonstrations during the trials and that athletes can “peacefully and respectfully” engage in racial and social justice protests, Berry’s actions drew loud—and predictable—condemnations from right-wing media and Republicans.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), for instance, demanded that Berry be tossed off the U.S. Olympic team over her protest, yelling on Fox & Friends this week that “we don’t need any more activist athletes.” Berry, who has said she plans to use her Olympic participation to speak out against social injustice, fired back at Crenshaw and other critics. “At this point, y’all are obsessed with me,” she tweeted on Monday.
The women of The View discussed this recent dust-up at the top of Tuesday’s program, with co-hosts Sunny Hostin and Joy Behar describing Berry’s actions as “patriotic” and criticizing Crenshaw. McCain, naturally, didn’t see things the same way.
“I agree with him. I want to first and foremost say Dan Crenshaw is an American hero,” McCain declared before highlighting the Texas lawmaker’s war record.
Claiming she has heard “every argument possible” for athletes engaging in social justice protests, the conservative host said the biggest problem she has is that Berry is “doing this internationally.” (Apparently, McCain was unaware that this particular protest took place in Portland.)
“If anyone just saw Vladimir Putin’s recent speech when he met with President Biden, he’s using the propaganda that America is an irredeemable craphole against us,” McCain declared, adding that Putin’s using rhetoric from Black Lives Matter against the United States.
“We’re having our enemies and propaganda dictators using our own propaganda against us, which in turn, turns into a national security risk,” she further exclaimed.
While bemoaning that Berry is making this about herself, McCain then made the issue explicitly about herself.
“For some reason, my relationship with the flag isn’t allowed,” she complained. “My love of the American flag, my love of the national anthem!”
She then went on to warn viewers that she was going to bring up her father, the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in order to further make her point that Olympic athletes need to respect the flag and anthem.
“I know it’s very triggering for people and people get very upset when I talk about my dad, for whatever reason, which is why I really stopped doing it on the show unless it’s really meaningful to me,” McCain stated before delivering an anecdote about her dad’s time as a POW.
After telling the story about one of her father’s fellow prisoners getting tortured for making an American flag, McCain went on to blast Berry for her supposed lack of patriotism.
“For some of us, I will die for this! I will die on this hill that it is not appropriate or patriotic to go to a foreign country where you are supposed to represent America and act like it's just about you!” McCain shouted. “It's not about you! It's about all of us!”
As co-host Sara Haines would note later in the segment, Berry’s father is also a veteran, having served in the Iraq War.