The inviolable line between show-biz camaraderie and political difference fairly trembled on last night’s Late Night, when Seth Meyers invited The View co-host and former Saturday Night Live intern Meghan McCain on to talk about Representative Ilhan Omar. Naturally, the pair chatted amiably about McCain’s time as a 19-20-year-old SNL page, with Meyers expressing relief that McCain has only positive memories about their interactions when he was on the show. (Meyers apparently acted decidedly unlike Jenna Maroney in helping the 30 Rock page straighten up a conference room one day.) And host and guest also found common ground in their bewilderment over Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) continued lickspittle support of Donald Trump, although McCain’s dismay stemmed not from Graham’s role in supporting even the most ugly, hurtful, and undemocratic of Trump’s policies and words, but from Graham’s betrayal of his lifelong friendship with her late father, Senator John McCain. And her, of course. “I’ll always love and respect him,” McCain said of “uncle” Graham, adding, “But it’s always disappointing.”
So far, so collegial, but things got gradually more heated when Meyers brought up McCain’s remarks following the murder at the synagogue in Poway, California. After Meyers suggested that McCain’s assertion on a Sunday talk show (George Stephanopoulos’ This Week, McCain was quick to point out) that a perhaps ill-judged tweet from Representative Omar (reminder, a black, Muslim woman) helped precipitate the AR-15 hate crime attack from an avowed white supremacist dickhead was, perhaps, a little tenuous, McCain quickly got defensive. With Meyers contextualizing Omar’s widely debated remarks about the political sway of pro-Israel lobbyists by noting not only that Omar has apologized “unequivocally,” but that there are those on the right eager to demonize one of the first two female Muslims in Congress with “out of context” disingenuousness, McCain responded with some snippy whataboutism.
“Are you her publicist?,” asked McCain abruptly, illustrating Meyers’ point about how debate over Representative Omar could, just maybe, use a little more intellectual honesty and nuance. After Meyers brought up McCain’s use of another out-of-context quote from Omar about the terrorist attacks of 9/11, McCain doubled down. Asking if Meyers would extend the same benefit of the doubt to Donald Trump, Meyers countered that, unlike Omar, Trump has never accepted responsibility or apologized for, well, anything he’s ever said. (Like, say, rushing to boast about his building being the tallest in New York after 9/11, or lying about seeing New York Muslims cheering after the terrorist attack.) Telling McCain that, when it comes to public discourse, it’s incumbent upon everyone (especially people with the platform of a national TV show) to choose their words with more care, Meyers was met with some of the affronted “don’t you know who you’re talking to?” debate stylings familiar to anyone who’s seen McCain’s act as The View’s lone conservative professional martyr. “What would make you happy coming out of my mouth right now, I’m genuinely curious,” pulled up McCain, playing baffled that Meyers would gingerly put forth that she should use the same level of care in not misrepresenting a first-year congresswoman receiving racist death threats as McCain’s demanding of Rep. Omar. After Meyers asserted he was “perfectly happy with everything coming out of [her] mouth,” McCain once more appealed to their prior chumminess by trailing off, “Because you seemed a little . . .” And because it’s a talk show, the pair left it at that.