Things got a bit heated Monday between The View co-hosts Meghan McCain and Joy Behar when they clashed over whether South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a chance at winning the Democratic Party’s primary race.
Behar, a longtime panelist on The View and a liberal voice on the show, seemed to be supportive of Buttigieg following recent reports that the 37-year-0ld presidential hopeful is leading the race among the candidates in Iowa.
The segment began when co-host Whoopi Goldberg introduced news that certain polls suggested Buttigieg has surged by some 16 points in the state, making him the current front-runner there. Goldberg was quick to note, however, that polls are constantly in flux and seemed to express doubt over whether the mayor would remain on top.
Behar attempted to explain why she believed Buttigieg had become a popular candidate in Iowa.
“He’s a moderate, am I right?,” Behar asked in a video clip of Monday’s show posted to Twitter. “He’s more of a moderate Democrat.”
McCain, the daughter of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain and a conservative voice on the show’s panel, didn’t necessarily agree with Behar’s characterization.
“He wasn’t, and now he is,” McCain retorted. “He was campaigning extremely left, sort of in the Beto lane – I think saw the tea leaves in that, and has now has run extremely moderate.”
Seeming to accept McCain’s characterization, Behar said that people seemed to respond well to Buttigieg’s moderate stances, and added that other candidates, like Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Vice President Joe Biden were the only other moderate candidates in the field. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren are both viewed as more progressive options in the still-growing race for the party’s nomination.
“People are excited about Buttigieg,” Behar said. “He’s fresh, he’s new, he’s gay,” she added with a laugh to cheers from The View‘s studio audience.
Behar cited his past service in the U.S. military and said that his marriage to husband Chasten Buttigieg was “traditional” in a sense, though she noted some might not view it as such since he is gay. Behar said his marriage could appeal to what she described as the “silent majority.” The liberal host also noted that the mayor has openly discussed his religious beliefs, which she said she believed would be appealing to many voters. Finally, in saying she believed he had a shot at winning the nomination, Behar implied that the only roadblock he faced was his sexuality.
McCain didn’t share her co-host’s enthusiasm for the South Bend mayor.
“Well, I’m not gonna try to burst the bubble here, but there’s always a sparkly shiny object in primary politics,” McCain said before naming past candidates like Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. “There’s always a bright shiny candidate.”
Specifically, McCain took issue with Buttigieg’s support among members of the African American population.
“I don’t know if we’d be talking about a candidate polling at zero or one percent with white voters the way we are talking about a candidate who is polling at one percent with the black voters,” she said. “He has a serious problem and blindspot with the African American community.”
McCain noted the recent unveiling of Buttigieg’s “Douglas Plan,” a plan meant to directly address issues facing the black community. He received criticism for the plan’s rollout, which notably featured a stock image of a Kenyan woman. McCain called the flub “very sloppy and very disrespectful.”
Co-host Sunny Hostin, who admitted she did like Buttigieg, seemed to agree with McCain that he has had problems with the black community, particularly in his hometown.
“Is that an open and shut case?” Behar asked Hostin. But McCain chimed in, claiming Buttigieg’s support from the African American community was lower than that of their support of President Trump.
“For whatever that’s worth,” McCain added, as Behar seemed to appear a bit puzzled.
Hostin echoed McCain’s earlier sentiments in stating that Buttigieg has had a history of inadequately addressing the issues facing the African American community, and that the rollout of his Douglass Plan was “sloppy.”
Still, Behar defended the mayor, insisting that some of the criticism of the plan’s rollout was the fault of a low-level staffer and not Buttigieg himself.
McCain concluded by saying she “absolutely” did not believe that Buttigieg would be the Democratic Party’s nominee, though she said she believed there was a lane for more moderate Democrats.