Meghan McCain may be pro-vaccine, but that won't stop her from taking the Biden administration to task for its "psychotic" COVID-19 messaging. Monday morning on The View, McCain skewered Democrats for treating vaccine-hesitant Republicans like "dumb hillbillies," and she insisted that Biden must treat these conservatives with "empathy" and meet them where they are. "I'm horrified by the way people are talking to Republicans right now," said the co-host. "We should try and meet people along instead of saying they're dumb morons in the middle of the country that are going to kill everybody."
McCain's Monday outburst seemed to stem from comments made by Sunny Hostin, her ideological foil. "Almost 50% of Republicans are refusing to get the vaccine," said Hostin, arguing that "we need to shun those that refuse to get vaccinated" and bar them from entry to restaurants, airplanes, and the like. "Those people that don't want to get vaccinated, then that's fine for you, but then you can't spread it to other people that [aren't] vaccinated. You don't get those other liberties that come with immunity. Something has to break. If that's your personal choice not to get vaccinated, you don't then get to infringe on the rights of those who have chosen to protect their fellow citizens."
Whoopi Goldberg seemed to know that McCain would have plenty to say in response, so she immediately threw the discussion over to the conservative. "Honestly, when we were first talking about vaccine hesitancy on this show months and months and months ago, a lot of it centered on minority populations who were hesitant because of valid things like the Tuskegee Experiment. The narrative and the feeling coming out was compassion and trying to convince people in a way of empathy that we all need to be in this together," said the conservative firebrand. "And I think it was effective."
SHUNNING ANTI-VAXXERS? Experts say America is unlikely to reach herd immunity soon because of vaccine hesitancy causing lower daily vaccination rates — the co-hosts weigh in and question if Pres. Biden masking outdoors is sending mixed messages. https://t.co/N8oGdPfbB5 pic.twitter.com/iXOOSslaiK— The View (@TheView) May 3, 2021
"And the messaging towards evangelicals and Republicans is, 'You dumb hillbillies, stay the hell away from me,'" she complained. "I don't think there's any way that's going to convince anyone of anything if that's the messaging coming out of the White House."
McCain added that she's tried to pitch "an ad campaign" to encourage vaccinations among hesitant Republicans, but it "has gone on completely deaf ears" of those around her. "The messaging on this is absolute garbage towards conservatives and Republicans, and it's getting worse," said McCain.
While she condeded that the hesitancy is "a public health crisis," she quickly blamed the crisis on the Biden administration and Democrats. "The messaging is psychotic," she reiterated. "A lot of this feels like it's more about control than science. If the vaccine is 94% effective -- which we are told by science and the CDC and all the smart people that come on this show it is -- if the vaccine works, why do we still have to wear masks outdoors? Why do we have to wear masks inside? And that's also part of the messaging problem. Because if you get a vaccine and nothing in your life changes ... the way human nature works and the way human beings work, there has to be an impetus and a reason to get vaccinated to get what you want."
Hostin typically lets McCain's rants slide, but the co-host must have been feeling fiery today, because after the break, she tore apart her colleague's argument. "In terms of this 'messaging' -- Republicans are spreading bad messages to other Republicans. This isn't on the left. Republicans seem to think that 'owning the libs' is just not wearing a mask," said Hostin. "Tucker Carlson and Fox News are actually questioning the efficacy of the vaccine on one night, and then telling people to go up to other people and confront them and [tell] them to take off their masks."
"The reason people can't take off their masks is because the variant is spreading amongst all those Republicans and white evangelicals that are refusing to get vaccinated," continued Hostin. "That's what the problem is in terms of messaging. It's not on the left! It's not on Democrats! It's on Republicans to Republicans. It's on Fox News. It's on all the misinformation. That's what's going on here."
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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.