Former Trump spokesperson Alyssa Farah Griffin on Tuesday found herself on the receiving end of a tongue-lashing from co-host Sunny Hostin for defending former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, whom Hostin described as “cowardly” and “despicable.”
In the process, Hostin also appeared to take pointed swipes at Griffin—who has been a regular View guest host in recent months—for not speaking up while she worked in the Trump administration.
Esper, who served as former President Donald Trump’s defense chief before he was unceremoniously fired just after the 2020 election, has been making the media rounds to promote A Sacred Oath, his Trump era tell-all. Among other eye-popping revelations, Esper recounted that Trump floated firing missiles at Mexico, wondered if George Floyd protesters could be shot, and wanted to execute leakers despite the president being the “biggest leaker of all.”
With Esper recently suggesting to Fox News that he believes Trump was a threat to democracy, Griffin kicked off The View’s Tuesday discussion on the ex-official’s book tour by raving about her former boss (Griffin served as the DOD’s press secretary before returning to the Trump White House in 2020).
“I worked with Secretary Esper at the Department of Defense,” she noted. “Served our country in uniform before he was secretary of defense. I know him to be a principled, serious person, and he's one of those who I'm grateful he was there because, I am telling you, crazier things would have happened.”
Saying she “panicked” when Trump asked her if he should fire Esper after she came back to the White House, Griffin insisted she told the twice-impeached ex-president “absolutely not.” (A month after Esper was canned by Trump, Griffin resigned from the administration.)
After co-host Joy Behar took issue with Esper not speaking out sooner about Trump’s “psychotic behavior,” Griffin conceded it as a “valid point” but argued that “if all the people in good faith who cared about America” left the administration, it “would have been filled with little Steve Bannons.”
Hostin was unwilling to accept that rationale.
“I'm tired of this ridiculous apology tour, Alyssa, I’m sick of it,” she exclaimed to studio audience applause. “I’m sick of people coming and trying to sell a book. The reason he’s speaking now is because he’s trying to make money! I think that is cowardly. I think that is despicable!”
Cutting off Griffin’s attempt at a rebuttal, Hostin continued to lay into Esper while holding up whistleblower Alexander Vindman—who testified about Trump’s infamous Ukraine phone call during the ex-president’s first impeachment trial—as a “true hero” and patriot.
“I’m sure your former boss, who you’re so proud of, knew all about Ukraine, knew all about what was going on, and said nothing,” the longtime View host declared.
While Griffin asserted that Esper “fought to get aid released to Ukraine,” Hostin continued to shout her down, asking Griffin point-blank if the ex-secretary testified during the impeachment.
“No, he doesn’t get a pass,” Hostin fumed.
“It’s not about a pass so much as—the idea that everyone of good faith should have stepped down while Trump was the commander-in-chief,” Griffin pleaded.
“Not stepped down, spoke up,” Behar chimed in. “That’s different.”