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Sunny Hostin did not come to play Tuesday morning. Hostin brought The View to a standstill as she confronted former co-host Jedediah Bila about her anti-vaccine stance and accused her of putting her own personal freedoms above the health of the general public. "I just don't think we should allow this kind of misinformation on our air," said Hostin, after Bila spewed false claims about the vaccine and her immunity level.
Due to ABC's strict vaccine mandates, Bila appeared virtually on The View Tuesday morning, though she insisted that she has "sky-high, multi-tiered, multi-faceted natural immunity" to COVID after she contracted the virus in April. "For me, personally, this vaccine poses a greater risk than benefit," she told the co-hosts. "I am not anti-vaxx. What I really want is for people to make these decision for themselves."
As Bila ranted about vaccine mandates, Hostin interrupted to remind her that over 700,000 people have died of COVID-19, including her in-laws. "I just don't understand why you would choose to prioritize your personal freedom over the health and safety of others," she said. "I just really don't think we should allow this kind of misinformation on our website. We've had the United States Surgeon General debunk everything that you've just said."
The two continued to talk over each other until Whoopi Goldberg threw the show to commercial. As the show's music played, Bila yelled that viewers should "follow the science" and... not get vaccinated?
Appearing remotely to promote her book, 'Dear Hartley,' former #TheView co-host @JedediahBila defends her position to not get vaccinated — which prevented her from being in-studio: "I am not anti-vax... However, I do oppose mandates." https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/c1jQoYBm2T— The View (@TheView) November 16, 2021
Elsewhere on The View... Sunny Hostin's big morning continued as she challenged guest co-host Tara Setmayer, a former GOP communications director, to define "woke," a buzzword that Republicans seem to love, but has little actual meaning. After a few minutes of tense back and forth, Setmayer admitted that the right's obsession with "wokeness" amounts to "a new Southern Strategy," which sought to increase white voter turnout by appealing to racism. "Critical Race Theory is the new N-word for Republicans," said the guest co-host. "The Democrats have to have a good comeback to this or they will lose in 2022."
Hostin has been critical of Republicans' newfound focus on "Critical Race Theory" in the past, so it was no surprise that she made her feelings known Tuesday morning during a Hot Topics discussion about Sen. Josh Hawley's proposed "Parents' Bill of Rights." As moderator Whoopi Goldberg explained, Hawley's bill aims to "combat the so-called woke bureaucrats who have taken over schools" by giving parents the "right to know what their kids are being taught, who's teaching them, and the ability to visit" during the school day. "What are they, in jail?" asked Whoopi. "You have all these rights already! You don't need him!"
"That's true, but this is why they're doing this," replied Setmayer. "It's a rallying point that Republicans see a weakness on the side of the Democrats. Education used to be a Democrat issue, right? But we saw what happened in Virginia, and even in New Jersey, where if you have this 'woke' crowd telling parents that they're not smart enough to say in their kids' education —"
When Hostin interrupted to ask her to 'define what woke is,' Setmayer insisted that "it doesn't matter how" she defines it; "it matters how it's perceived" by voters.
"But how is it defined by the Republican Party?" asked Hostin. "It's perceived as the left is trying to foist upon parents and others these more progressive viewpoints about race and culture," replied Setmayer. "If you have to define it, you're losing – I said this yesterday."
That remark didn't deter Hostin, who once again asked Setmayer to explain "how are Republicans defining woke," particularly as it relates to "social and racial equity," and this time, it worked (more or less). "They're defining woke as saying, white people should feel guilty for being white in America — I'm not saying that's the right thing. That's how they're defining it," said the guest co-host. "People are being offended by that and saying, 'You're not going to tell us that this is how we have to view things. Why should our kids pay for the sins of their ancestors?'"
"So, woke is all about race?" asked Hostin, her prosecutorial skills coming out full-force. "A lot of it is about race and culture issues," admitted Setmayer. "Democrats are very bad at arguing, and Republicans are very good at fueling and manufacturing outrage."
Tara Setmayer says her political party (R) is very good at "fueling and manufacturing outrage." So basically she is saying she is part of the problem for being part of that political party.#TheView pic.twitter.com/aj3mSFmi5N— The Chat (@LiveOnTheChat) November 16, 2021
At Hostin's urging, Setmayer agreed that Critical Race Theory and "wokeness" are "the new Southern Strategy" for Republicans. The admission teed up Hostin for a slam-dunk — clearly, she was getting Setmayer to a point where she'd have no choice but to label the GOP as racist — but Whoopi cut things off before Hostin could reply.
"Parents are smart enough to know that they've always had the right to go to a child's school," said Whoopi, repeating a line she's said ad nauseam over the past few weeks. "Every school district can tell you exactly what you're teaching your kids. This is not new!"
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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.