An allegedly hostile work environment, created in part by her on-air co-hosts, is what Meghan McCain says prompted her exit from The View earlier this year, as detailed in a new excerpt from McCain’s upcoming memoir.
In the passage from Bad Republican, first obtained by our sister site Variety, McCain says she was the target of “toxic, direct and purposeful hostility” throughout her four years at the daytime series. (TVLine has reached out to ABC for comment.) As The View‘s resident conservative during President Trump’s administration, McCain felt as though “I had become an avatar for everything [her co-hosts] hated about the president,” prompting Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and other View staffers to become “meaner and less forgiving” toward McCain as Trump’s presidency continued.
But McCain says she “could handle it and manage it” until she became a mother to daughter Liberty in 2020. Following Liberty’s birth, McCain struggled with postpartum anxiety, leading her to have irrational worries about her child’s safety. Shortly after returning to The View following her maternity leave — “as I was still… adjusting to my new schedule and life between breast-pumping and researching for my hot topics,” McCain remembers — she got into a heated on-air discussion with Behar regarding politics, prompting McCain to say, “Joy, you missed me so much when I was on maternity leave! You missed fighting with me!” McCain recalls making the comment in an effort to “make light of things and to ease the tension” at the table. Behar’s response was, “I did not. I did not miss you. Zero.”
“Nothing anyone has ever said to me on camera since I have been giving interviews since I was 22 years old ever hit this hard,” McCain shares. “I felt like I’d been slapped… Now, I know I’m not always a perfect angel, but I would never speak to any woman that way who had just returned after giving birth. There are some things in life and some moments of time in life which are sacred.”
It was that incident with Behar — an “intensely heartbreaking experience” that McCain says prompted her to cry during The View‘s next commercial break, then experience a panic attack in private later — that ultimately prompted McCain to reevaluate her future on the show, particularly as her postpartum anxiety worsened.
“The View is billed as being honest and open. It’s billed as an arena for women to share and discuss their views on politics and the most important topics of the day — an arena historically occupied by men,” McCain continues. “But the truth is that the environment of the show is toxic. Here I was, thinking that I had been through so much with these women… After giving birth, I didn’t feel like myself. I felt extremely vulnerable. Joy seemed to smell that vulnerability like a shark smells blood in the water, and she took after it. Why was this worth it to her? I will never know. But, so much for working moms looking out for each other.”
McCain maintains she’s “not mad about what happened to me” at The View, but admits “there are some things about the show that feel stuck in 1997 when The View first went on air. In this era of dismantling toxic work environments and refusing to accept the poor treatment of employees, how is The View still immune?”
The former host also implores ABC News to offer paid family leave to all employees, an issue about which she’s become passionate. “Conservatives are supposed to be so pro-family, but too often their policies stop short of protecting and supporting women,” she says. “I feel like we are collectively failing new moms and women in general in this country.”
McCain’s final View episode aired Aug. 6, at which point she described her years on the show as “the best of times and the worst of times in all ways, on and off the show. It’s been a really incredible, liberating experience, and I will always cherish the time I spent with all of you.”
Bad Republican releases Thursday, Oct. 21, in audiobook format only.