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Alyssa Farah Griffin wasted no time getting back into the swing of things in her first of four days on The View. During the first Hot Topic of the morning, the guest co-host found herself on the defensive as the co-hosts took aim at the many Trump officials who have attempted to save face by releasing a book about their experience in the White House. "I'm tired of this ridiculous apology tour," said Sunny Hostin. "I'm sorry, Alyssa. I'm sick of it!"
Over the past few days, former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has done just that, writing in his new book, "A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times," that former President Trump once asked about using the military to shoot Black Lives Matter protestors. Griffin, who worked under Esper as the DOD's spokesperson, was first to speak up, and she insisted he's a "principled, serious person" who countered Trump's natural inclinations. "I'm grateful he was there because I am telling you, crazier things would have happened," she said.
Griffin added that Trump asked her twice whether he should fire Esper, and both times, she convinced the president to keep him in the position. "Not taking credit, but I am grateful he was there," she said. "Because we saw [on] January 6 what happened when people like Esper were not there and when Trump loyalists were there telling him what to do."
When Joy Behar said Esper had an obligation to "inform the American public that a sociopath was in the office," Griffin insisted that if "all the people who were good faith public servants left," Trump would have filled his administration with "little Steve Bannons."
"I think this is a cowardly action," interjected Hostin, as she dinged the "ridiculous apology tour" that Esper, like so many ex-Trump officials, now seem to find themselves on. "I'm sick of people now coming out and trying to sell a book! The reason he is even speaking now is because he is trying to make money. And I think that is cowardly, I think it's despicable, and I completely agree with Joy — it's his new memoir which, by the way, came out today, and that's why we're hearing about this!"
MARK ESPER CALLS TRUMP A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY: After the former defense secretary said former Pres. Trump “threatens” American democracy “given the events of Jan. 6" and how he “undermined the election results,” #TheView panel questions if he did enough to intervene at the time. pic.twitter.com/DdjWNgUMKR— The View (@TheView) May 10, 2022
"The other thing that is just fascinating to me is we have true heroes, true patriots, like Alexander Vindman, who testified during the 2019 impeachment and told us what happened with Ukraine," Hostin continued. "I'm sure your former boss who you're so proud of knew all about Ukraine, knew all about what was going on, and said nothing!"
"This is an accusation I need to make a response to!" said Griffin, now visibly fired up, as she explained Esper "fought to get aid released to Ukraine" against Trump's wishes.
When Hostin asked whether Esper "testified during the impeachment," Griffin insisted "he wasn't asked to testify" during the hearing. "No, no. He doesn't get a pass," replied Hostin.
"It's not about a pass, so much that — the idea that everyone of good faith should've just stepped down while Trump was the Commander in Chief—" said Griffin. "Not step down, spoke up!" interrupted Behar, earning a round of applause from the audience.
As Griffin continued to argue her point about how Esper was no longer in the administration on January 6, Hostin hit her with a zinger: "Maybe January 6 would not have happened had he spoken up and stopped it!"
After some back and forth between Hostin and Sara Haines, Behar asked for a response to Hostin's point about the insurrection. "There's a lot of us, myself included, who were naïve and thought something like January 6 could never happen," said Griffin. "'He's eventually just going to go back to Mar-a-Lago, call it a day, and admit loss.' And those of us who thought that — I can admit for myself, I was wrong. I thought he was going to peacefully leave. I never thought I would see an insurrection on U.S. soil."
Griffin will be at the table through Friday, so viewers can expect plenty of fireworks from the frontrunner for the fifth seat.
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.