‘The View’ host suggested that she would lose her gig if “identity politics” were in play.
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The View co-host Meghan McCain came under fire this week after she made several questionable comments in regards to Senator Tammy Duckworth’s call for more Asian American representation in President Joe Biden’s cabinet, the Daily Beast reports.
Although most of the show’s panel agreed that Duckworth, who is Thai American, and Senator Mazie Hirono were right in demanding the Biden administration diversify the executive branch, McCain challenged the senators’ appeal. The co-host, who joined The View in 2017, instead argued that the “most qualified” candidates should head departments “like national security and infrastructure, things that literally are the meat and potatoes that make the country great.”
Related: Asian American Business Leaders and Public Figures Denounce Atlanta Shootings, Condemn ‘Deliberate’ Attacks
“I believe what makes America exceptional is the fact that we’re a meritocracy, that you can be anything,” she said. “That you can come from anywhere and go and have success in any capacity. And I think the question Democrats have to reconcile with right now is whether or not race and gender are more important than qualification.”
Citing a 2014 lawsuit that alleged that Harvard University had discriminated against Asian Americans in its race-based admissions process, McCain went on to suggest that the country’s system of meritocracy was being threatened by the “progressive” left’s pandering to women and communities of color.
“We’re going to a place where even if people need money, even if people are qualified to get into Ivy League, race and gender is more important than your skill qualifications, the content of your character,” McCain said, as quoted by Fox News. “It is not what Martin Luther King preached.”
McCain also hinted at her fear of losing own her job, amid broader calls by activists for more diverse representation in the media.
“Just to put a cap on this, The View is 25 years old next year. We’ve only had one Asian American host co-host this show,” McCain said, in reference to Lisa Ling, who joined the show in 1999 and left in 2002. “So does that mean that one of us should be leaving because there’s not enough representation? Is identity politics more important than the qualifications for the job?”
Following her comments, McCain was immediately criticized by her co-host Sunny Hostin.
“It’s not about gender and race being more important than qualifications,” Hostin fired back. “It’s about the fact that they are many qualified women and minority candidates that never get the opportunity because of the advancement of generally white male mediocrity, because of things like legacy.”
Twitter users also lambasted McCain.
“There have been more View co-hosts who are children of famous people than view co-hosts who are Asian,” CNN political correspondent and weekend anchor Abby Phillip wrote on the social media platform. “Does she really think that’s because there aren’t enough Asian people with the right qualifications?”
McCain has regularly mentioned her relationship with her father, the late Senator John McCain, on the show.
Daily Beast contributing editor Justin Baragona also took jabs at the show’s co-host, linking out to his publication’s article on McCain’s comments.
“Here’s a link to @mattwilstein’s story on Meghan McCain — the daughter of a former presidential nominee and senator — crying about ‘identity politics’ and fretting that an Asian American will take her job,” Baragona, who later said he was subsequently blocked by McCain, tweeted.
McCain previously faced backlash from Last Week Tonight‘s John Oliver for tweeting “Stop Asian Hate” a year after she had defended President Donald Trump’s use of the term “China Virus.” She later apologized.
“I condemn the reprehensible violence and vitriol that has been targeted towards the Asian-American community,” she tweeted. “There is no doubt Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric fueled many of these attacks and I apologize for any past comments that aided that agenda.”