Over the past few weeks, former View co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck has been under fire for comments she made in March on the ABC show about the coronavirus. Now, Elisabeth is defending her remarks and calling out one her most staunch and vocal critics, Meghan McCain.
The controversy first began on March 11, when The View invited Elisabeth back to be a guest co-host. At the time, there were 1,215 confirmed cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To date, there are 972,969 in the country.
While on the show, Elisabeth shared her thoughts on the coronavirus:
"I think there can be a fine line between what is precaution, what is taking precaution, and what is panic. Yes, we're going to take precautions, we're going to Purell, pray that God's got us in our tomorrows. We pray that this coronavirus is extinguished, that it stops in its tracks. And I love the fact that we can identify that this is precautionary, right? We have effective cases, those are serious, we've had deaths, those are serious, yes. They're not to be taken lightly at all, but I also think we're not — we shouldn't be in a state of panic because what we're doing, and taking cues from our president, is taking early, strong, bold actions to keep this at bay as much as we possibly can right now."
After Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin pressed Elisabeth on her comments, she added: "I think we should prepare, I think we should pray. I'm not going to let coronavirus rule me and let it be an idol ... and I do think our leadership right now is pointing us to say, 'Hey, this is not a panic situation.' This is a precautionary situation, we're going to use Purell, wash our hands — we're going to be okay, guys."
Since then, her remarks have sparked outrage online, with many taking issue with Elisabeth suggesting people should "pray" that the coronavirus spread ends.
On April 22, Bravo's Andy Cohen, who had tested positive for COVID-19 in March, asked Meghan on Watch What Happens Live for her input on Elisabeth's comments. Though Meghan has long praised Elisabeth's prior involvement with The View, she called Elisabeth's comments "unfortunate."
"Somebody actually sent me a screenshot of my face when she said that. I took this virus seriously from the very beginning, and I thought a lot of this rhetoric was really dangerous," Meghan told Andy over video chat. "I don't need to co-host with her again, and it's unfortunate, because I've been a huge fan for a long time. Anybody who is screwing around with this virus and putting out misinformation, I just, I don't really have a lot of time for right now."
On April 25, Elisabeth took to Instagram to defend her statements made on The View and scold Meghan for "tossing out some anger."
Golly. Getting kids to bed and apparently @meghanmccain is tossing out some anger my way . Meghan- i am going to call you and handle this in the best socially distanced direct manner possible - but hey girl - We are all just doing our best, and I don’t know why you are taking an opportunity to be so aggressive toward me during such a stressful time. #1- I have always liked you and been a vocal defender of your family. I sure did not see this one coming. #2- we are all just trying to do our best, we should not be judging one another we should be in this together #3- get your quotes right. I never said I had the power to pray covid away. The day at the view I came to visit y’all because our hometown had been slammed with a tornado and lives were lost and a school needed help and I was trying to get word out. Nyc was not even in social distancing yet. It was March 11th- it was before anyone was even quarantining - It was the last day the show was in studio, and your major was still encouraging visitors to Chinatown and still working out in gyms! #4 my quote was that I am going to pray and purell. #5 PRAYER will ALWAYS be my FIRST RESPONSE AND MY BEST DEFENSE 🙏🏻💕 We have had a family member hospitalized and I have asthma. This is all hard and stressful enough- turn off the meanness as The world needs more togetherness and kindness. I’m praying today that you can lay off throwing the social darts at me. I am not sure why you decided to do this. I’m a momma on my knees in prayer like many others - let’s get back in the same side and be #inthistogether 🙏🏻💕
A post shared by Elisabeth Hasselbeck (@elisabethhasselbeck) on Apr 24, 2020 at 9:06pm PDT
"I don't like being misrepresented, so we're going to talk this out right here," Elisabeth said in her Instagram video. She then began to ask her son Isaiah questions that confirmed their family has been praying, washing hands, "Purell-ing," and taking social distancing seriously.
"So Meghan, number one, the day I came to The View, it was, like, pre-social distancing orders, we were very early in the cycle with coronavirus," Elisabeth explained in her defense (for context, the first stay-at-home order went into effect on March 19 in California).
She also said she will "always, always call on God" when "things get scary and when they're unknown."
"It's my first response and it will always be my best defense."
Elisabeth also wrote Meghan a reply in her Instagram Stories.
"Dear Meghan McCain, Please know I'm praying for you. I'm not sure why you are taking aim at me," she began before adding that she's been a "long supporter" of Meghan.
"I'm not sure why you have gone on the offense against me, but know I will continue to use prayer as my MAIN RESPONSE and my best defense. I'm not sure why you are judging me. We are all doing our best. Be nice. It's a lot more fun that way."
As of April 27, there are now 3,002,303 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide and 55,118 reported deaths. The CDC recommends taking actions such as wearing a cloth face covering in public, social distancing, covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands frequently, and more.
For helpful resources regarding the coronavirus, visit: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Coronavirus Disease 2019 fact page and The National Association of County and City Health Officials' directory of local health departments.
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