First days can be tough. Just ask recent Today Showaddition Megyn Kelly, haver of the worst first week at a new gig ever. Meghan McCain’s first day as a co-host on The View didn’t go as poorly as any of Megyn Kelly’s bad days, but things did get serious right away. That’s because McCain’s first day on the job happened right after Vice President Mike Pence spent his Sunday protesting the protests at a Colts/49ers game.
Pence attended the game, letting his followers on Twitter know by tweeting out a picture of himself at a game…from three years ago. He then left the game as soon as NFL players kneeled during the national anthem, which they have been doing in protest of continued police violence against black citizens and doubled down on in the past few weeks after the current administration said team owners have the right to fire players that protest (never mind that the right to protest is kinda what America was built on, but whatever). It’s also possible that Pence never even planned on watching the game, as reporters were told to not even bother with going into the stadium and Trump himself tweeted out that the whole thing was “long planned.” People are now asking if the whole thing was a stunt, and just how much that stunt cost tax payers (it ain’t cheap to fly the Vice President to a football game he doesn’t plan on sitting through).
There’s a lot to unpack in this news story, and the hosts of The View were up to the challenge on a Monday morning. Joy Behar said Pence was “kind of like a prop. Trump says do this, he does it. He’s like a little prop.”
Sara Haines didn’t understand why leaving the game was the answer, saying the whole thing was like a “pissing match”: “Even if you are someone who stands and puts your hand on your heart, you can do that next to someone kneeling. You don’t have to leave.”
Sunny Hostin said the whole thing was “un-American”: “For the government through Pence and the president to tell people and almost demand people not to exercise their constitutional rights, that’s very un-American.”
After three critiques of Pence, McCain–the outspoken conservative daughter of Senator John McCain–voiced her opinion and sided with the VP.
“I am a total red state girl, I come from Phoenix, Arizona and this has turned into a culture war,” said McCain. “For me, when I was 19 years old and my brother was 17, he deployed to Iraq the first time and it was the first time I ever framed an American flag. The American flag and the national anthem mean more to me than just symbolism. I’m deeply patriotic. It gave me solace. I think there’s a misunderstanding that I think we can have a conversation about both things while still respecting what the American flag and the national anthem mean to people like me.”
Behar pointed out that those soldiers, like her brother, are fighting and sometimes dying for our right to protest, which is a right these athletes are exercising in order to raise awareness of police violence (see: St. Louis, right now). McCain agreed with Behar there, but didn’t change her mind. “If I were there with Vice President Pence, I would walk out too. You have to understand how deeply tribal this is and how deeply cultural this is and to disrespect the flag in the way that they’re doing, I find offensive. That being said, they have the right to do it.” One assumes the football players could say the exact same thing, except they’d swap “disrespect the flag” with “shoot unarmed black men.”
In the end, Whoopi Goldberg got in the final word by saying that the American flag is extraordinary because “she understands standing and kneeling and she accepts both.” To hear Goldberg tell it, the flag sounds a lot more understanding than most of the people who claim to support it.
McCain’s first week as a permanent co-host on The View continues tomorrow, and knowing the way news cycles are today, odds are hot topics will still be scorching all week long.