Meghan McCain sat quietly during the first part of Donald Trump Jr.‘s appearance with his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, on The View on Thursday as McCain’s co-hosts interviewed him about the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump and other matters.
Characteristically contentious — given how often The View panel has discussed the Trump White House and its controversies — the joint interview grew more solemn when McCain spoke up.
“Mr. Trump, a lot of Americans in politics miss character, and a lot of people miss the soul of this country. You and your family have hurt a lot of people, and put a lot of people through a lot of pain, including the Khan family, who is a Gold Star family that I think should be respected for the loss of their son. Does all of this make you feel good?”
Meghan, 35, was referring to Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son was killed while serving in the U.S. Army.
The Khans appeared at the 2016 Democratic National Convention to speak out about then-candidate Trump’s policies. He soon ridiculed them, drawing widespread backlash.
Responding to Meghan on The View, Don Jr., 41, said: “I don’t think any of that makes me feel good, but I do think that we got into this because we wanted to do what’s right for America. My father has been working tirelessly to bring back the American dream, who’ve watched politicians with no business experience send that American dream abroad to countries that hate our guts. He’s brought jobs back, he’s created unprecedented levels of unemployment numbers for African-Americans, for Hispanic Americans— “
Here, moderator Whoopi Goldberg cut in to dispute some of those statements.
During the cross-talk, Don Jr. said, “You asked me a question, let me finish it. For women, all-time high startup businesses, so I understand that he’s controversial, I understand that he’s offended a lot of people, but I also understand he took on the establishment and that’s the premiere sin in American politics these days to do that.”
“I understand, but the question is about character and character in politics,” Meghan said, as Don Jr. interrupted to add, “By the way, I’m not happy that people interpret it that way, I don’t think that’s our intention— “
“I will let you speak,” Meghan told him. “Character in politics, I believe, is important. It was how I was raised, it’s the way I view the lens of America, and I understand what you’re saying about policy, but when you’re talking about attacking Gold Star families who have given the ultimate sacrifice more than anyone in this room have given, and you put them through pain. Does it make you feel like this was worth it?”
“I know he does a lot with Gold Star families,” Don Jr. said of his father, “and he calls a lot of those Gold Star families and he has a lot of care for those people.”
Guilfoyle, a former Fox News host who is now working on the president’s re-election campaign, jumped in to say the president also works with “angel moms,” the term he uses to describe relatives of someone killed by an immigrant who illegally entered the U.S.
“He should call the Khans and apologize,” Meghan told Don Jr. But he continued without responding to that, making the argument many of the president’s aides have made in defense of his inflammatory behavior: that he is merely responding to someone else and if he weren’t allowed to be so divisive, he would have to be silent.
“When he’s under attack by the same people, when he’s under attack by the establishment, when he’s under attack by this. The reality is this: He’s a counterpuncher,” Don Jr. said on The View.
“And as a conservative, I would hope that you would appreciate that conservatives haven’t been known for fighting back for a very long time,” he argued to Meghan. “They’ve ceded a ground to the liberals and the liberal elite for decades by not actually fighting back, so I understand, we can keep going back to character. I think that he has great character.”
Co-host Sunny Hostin cut in to say, “I think she didn’t appreciate that your father attacked her father.” (“I didn’t,” Meghan said quietly.)
“I understand, I’m sorry about that,” Don Jr. told Hostin in the only part of his interview that was explicitly about the president’s denigration of Sen. McCain.
“They did have differences, I agree with that,” Don Jr. said. “And again, I’m sorry for the loss, I think you lost your aunt last night, so I do apologize for that as well.”
As the cross-talk continued, Meghan told he table, “Please let me, all of you, finish.”
“I did lose an aunt last night. Yes, I did. Thank you,” she told Don Jr. “I just, it’s just, for me, it would not have been worth it. This would have not been worth it. And I think people can go to the moment when my dad had stopped someone from saying Obama was a Muslim and the pain, inflicting pain, on so many people wouldn’t have been worth it to me or my family to the White House.
“So, I just want to know: Is it worth it?”
He had this to say in response:
“Well, listen. I think it depends on the hat that I’m wearing, you know, for me as a citizen, as a father of kids in New York City. You know, it hasn’t exactly been peaches and cream for us either, but you know, when it is worth it when I do go around the country and I see people who are affected by these policies, who are getting to live their American dream again, who are seeing wage growth for the lowest levels go up.
“When I see it happening with those people and they tell me their stories, how they’re so happy that they voted for my father, that they’re so happy that he actually had the guts to take on those people to not just accept the status quo, to not just accept that.”
Co-host Behar stopped him there, and Guilfoyle spoke up.
“I know your father for so many years,” she told Meghan.
“I tell you — no finer human being, I considered him my friend. I miss him. I understand your loss,” Guilfoyle said, growing emotional as she also talked about the losses in her own family, including her own parents.
“It breaks my heart to hear anybody say anything about your father, I understand that, and I know how difficult it is,” Guilfoyle said. “And I know how difficult it is for him when everybody is attacking his family, they’re out in front of our apartment, they want to put him in jail.”
“With all due respect, his father wasn’t dying of cancer,” Meghan said.
“I understand that, having lost both my parents to cancer,” Guilfoyle replied. “This is tough. I would like there to be more civility in politics and not personal attacks— .”
“Can somebody just say they’re sorry?” Goldberg asked.
Meghan then gave her “final note” to Guilfoyle, before saying she had nothing further: “Try and bring civility back then.”
“And you’re right, and you know what guys? It goes both ways,” Guilfoyle said. The conversation then flew off in a direct direction, away from the McCains, to whether or not the Trumps were too thin-skinned.
Guilfoyle contended that the press coverage was overwhelmingly negative and never focused on their “successes.”
Goldberg, for one, wasn’t having it: “Suck it up!”