After being called out by John Oliver on national television, The View's Meghan McCain decided it was the perfect and most sincere time to own up to her defense of racist, anti-Asian rhetoric by defending former president Donald Trump.
On Monday — just days after a gunman killed eight people, including six Asian women, in Atlanta — The View co-host apologized for standing behind Trump's racist comments, such as using "China virus" to describe COVID-19. "Meghan condemns the reprehensible violence and vitriol that has been targeted towards the Asian American community," a spokesperson for McCain told Entertainment Weekly in a statement. "There is no doubt Donald Trump's racist rhetoric fueled many of these attacks and she apologizes for any past comments that aided that agenda." McCain tweeted a similar statement.
I condemn the reprehensible violence and vitriol that has been targeted towards the Asian-American community. There is no doubt Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric fueled many of these attacks and I apologize for any past comments that aided that agenda.— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) March 22, 2021
But this apology came after comedian John Oliver opened Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight by spotlighting the significance of the shooting in the context of anti-Asian racism throughout U.S. history. During the segment, Oliver showed a clip from a March 2020 episode of The View where McCain says she doesn’t have a problem with then-President Trump using slurs to describe COVID-19.
“I think if the left wants to focus on PC-labeling this virus, it is a great way to get Trump reelected,” McCain says in the video. “I don’t have a problem with people calling it whatever they want. It’s a deadly virus that did originate in Wuhan. I don’t have a problem with it, and I think China, had they acted right away, and we had more access to information, maybe it wouldn’t have gotten to the place that it is.”
No wonder McCain's retweeting of a post labeled #StopAsianHate rang hollow and performative to so many people. How, exactly, can Meghan McCain want to stop violence against Asian people while also supporting rhetoric from Trump that has helped enable this violence?
While it's great to see McCain denounce the former president after he has been voted out of office, ignited a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and perpetuated anti-Asian racism leading up to a mass shooting, she should not expect to be easily forgiven. And her apology should have come before she was called out on late-night TV, not after.