Meghan McCain: Want to know the real reason I quit The View?

Spoiler alert: It’s precisely the reason you’d guess. Variety has an exclusive excerpt from Meghan McCain’s new memoir, Bad Republican, a title which presumably works in a number of different contexts. On The View, however, even Meghan’s relatively independent Republicanism became too much for the rest of the panel.

First, Variety reports on its own scoop (and what media outlet wouldn’t?):

In the 25-year history of “The View,” Meghan McCain is one of the only co-hosts to leave on her own — without being fired.

McCain’s decision to quit the most-watched show on daytime TV wasn’t one that came easily for her. Her four years on “The View” were marked by ratings peaks in ABC daytime, as she succeeded at the Hot Topics table where other conservatives — who weren’t Elisabeth Hasselbeck — had failed. …

As McCain writes in her new memoir, “Bad Republican” (available this week on Audible), she decided that she had to leave “The View” on Jan. 5, her second day back from maternity leave. McCain had given birth to her daughter, Liberty, in September 2020, and she was suffering from severe postpartum anxiety. She experienced irrational fears that someone would kidnap or hurt her daughter, and she was terrified about being on TV again.

During a political debate that day, McCain made a joke about how Joy Behar, the show’s resident liberal, must have missed her when she was gone. Behar scowled at her. “I did not miss you,” Behar said. “Zero!”

McCain said she sobbed during the commercial, and had a panic attack after the show wrapped, vomiting in her office. Overcome by her own anxieties as a new mom, she realized she couldn’t keep doing “The View,” given how toxic the job had become for her and her family. She left the show in August.

In Meghan’s telling, it got nasty and personal during and immediately after her pregnancy, ironically, but it was part of an escalating tension already in place. Her co-stars had taken out their frustrations with Donald Trump on Meghan, which seemed inexplicable given her public dissent from the MAGA movement and her father’s feud with the Trumps:

You can’t imagine how it messes with your self-esteem working in an environment where the worst thing you can be in the world is a Republican during the Trump years.

NARRATOR: Uh, yeah, actually many of us can imagine it — or at least relate to it. That does make the rest of this account more believable, especially given the public signals that had been apparent for some time:

As the country got worse under Trump, the treatment from Whoopi, Joy and some of the staff grew meaner and less forgiving. It was as if I had become an avatar for everything they hated about the president. It felt like the co-hosts and staff only knew one Republican — me — and took out all their anger on me, even though I didn’t even vote for Trump.

It was hard for me to understand. And I couldn’t explain it, because Whoopi and Joy saw front and center the emotional trauma that I experienced from President Trump’s attacks on my family. There was more than one occasion when I had to go on live TV and address the next disgusting thing Trump was saying about my father, as my dad was sick.

After my dad died, I heard Joy had told others at “The View” that she couldn’t understand how I could still defend Republicans after everything Trump had done to me. Why was that something she had to worry about? I could separate the two. I could separate Trump from being a Republican. And by the way, that was my job on the show. …

During my time on “The View,” I felt like I was being often being punished and singled out for being a conservative. I’d hear a lot of complaints that the staff, including the other co-hosts and producers, had problems with my “personality.” Until I got pregnant, I could handle it and manage it.

After that, however, the combination of toxicity on the set and Meghan’s post-partum anxiety became too overwhelming. “So much for working moms looking out for each other,” Meghan writes, accusing Behar of sensing her vulnerability “like a shark smells blood in the water.” After spending several years shrugging off the increased hostility on the set from both Behar and Goldberg, Meghan couldn’t absorb it any more.

And she wonders why she had to absorb it in the first place. Over to you, ABC:

But there’s stuff that happens on “The View” that shouldn’t be allowed. For whatever reason, there’s a deep level of misogyny about the way “The View” is covered and written about in the media, where tabloids are always writing about the co-hosts hating each other backstage. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy because the atmosphere of “The View” breeds drama: producers can’t control hosts, manage conflict or control leaking. My take on the show is that working at “The View” brings out the worst in people. I believe that all the women and the staff are working under conditions where the culture is so fucked up, it feels like quicksand.

I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s because there’s no high-level oversight of the show from the network. ABC won’t lay down the law when it comes to conduct at “The View.” We’re like the network’s crazy cousin. HR reports seem to fall on deaf ears, starting from years before I worked there. And as a result, people — both on camera and off — feel empowered to act however they like, and do whatever they want.

Of course, this is all from Meghan’s POV. No doubt, we will hear different stories from Behar, Goldberg, and others involved in the show. Nevertheless, one has to wonder why any conservative woman would take that job just on the basis of the public treatment Meghan got over the last few years by the people on stage with her. In fact, one has to wonder what purpose this show really fills at all any more, as it has become nothing more than an echo of progressive entertainment-industry lectures we can get practically anywhere else in the industry.

Be sure to read it all. Beats watching The View, anyway.