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After four years on the talk show, Meghan McCain quit The View in August. During her on-air announcement, the controversial co-host said that she was leaving because she and her family had moved to Washington D.C. during the pandemic and that the pandemic as a whole made her see life differently and realize she wanted to stay full-time in D.C. (The View films in New York City.) But in her new book, McCain has opened up further about why she decided to leave The View, and it actually came down to how she felt about staying on the show after she returned from maternity leave.
McCain writes about suffering from postpartum anxiety in the book, Bad Republican (on Audible Oct 21), an excerpt of which has been published by Variety. She says that it made her fear that her daughter was going to be hurt or stolen from her. "When I was getting ready to return to work, I told my producers that it was going to be rough for me," she writes. "I didn't ask for special treatment, but I didn't expect the attacks to start either."
McCain says that one post-maternity leave moment in particular upset her to the point that she didn't feel she could continue on with the series. It involved a comment that came from co-host Joy Behar, which McCain says made her feel "like [she'd] been slapped." Read on to find out more about the exchange.
McCain didn't feel welcomed back after maternity leave.
McCain returned from maternity leave in January 2021 when the show was still being filmed remotely due to the pandemic. The 36-year-old and her husband, Ben Domenech, welcomed their daughter Liberty in September 2020.
"When other women come back from maternity leave on The View, they are welcomed with confetti and baby presents," McCain writes. "Also I had been gone for three months and I had assumed they had missed seeing me. I was wrong."
Behar let McCain know on air that she hadn't missed her.
McCain writes that on her second day back, she and Behar "began squabbling a bit about the state of the Democratic Party on air." During the exchange, McCain writes, "To make light of things and to ease the tension, I said, 'Joy, you missed me so much when I was on maternity leave! You missed fighting with me!' 'I did not,' Joy said. 'I did not miss you. Zero.'"
McCain continues, "Nothing anyone has ever said to me on camera since I have been giving interviews since I was 22 years old ever hit this hard. I felt like I'd been slapped. She yelled out at me sharp and intensely and I believed her. Now, I know I'm not always a perfect angel, but I would never speak to any woman that way who had just returned after giving birth." McCain responded, "That's so nasty … That's so rude."
McCain broke down during the commercial break.
McCain writes that when the show went to commercial, she started sobbing and didn't know if she could continue on with the episode. In an interview with Variety, she explained, "After the show, I went back to my office and I had a panic attack. I couldn't stop crying, and I'm not always crying. I couldn't compose myself. I threw up in the garbage can."
She also writes in the book that she told an executive producer she wanted an apology from Behar. "I was told I would not be getting one and we all just needed to move on. I never talked to Joy one on one again after that day," McCain said. She added of her feelings toward Behar, "After giving birth, I didn't feel like myself. I felt extremely vulnerable. Joy seemed to smell that vulnerability like a shark smells blood in the water, and she took after it."
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She realized she had to leave the show.
"Ultimately it proved too difficult for me to forgive or move on from," McCain writes in Bad Republican. "Especially because I was told I wouldn't be getting an apology. I didn't have the emotional bandwidth anymore to try with any of them anymore. I thought I was part of a show where women can have the kinds of conversations that society doesn't generally make space for women to have. But, for me, The View didn't feel like a pro-women show. Soon after I returned, it hit me: I didn't want to be a part of that, for myself, for my daughter and for women everywhere." In the Variety interview, McCain said of her second day back, "That was the day I decided."
McCain's seat is currently filled by guest hosts.
After McCain's departure, The View announced that the conservative seat on the panel would be filled by a series of guest hosts. These hosts have included former Utah Congressperson Mia Love, political commentator S.E. Cupp, and lawyer and Real Housewives of New York City star Eboni K. Williams. As for McCain, she has moved on to a new job as a columnist for U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail's website DailyMail.com.