Joy Behar and Meghan McCain got into a heated dispute Thursday over vaccine hesitancy and the messaging coming from experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Behar argued that the messaging wasn’t complicated and that conservatives seemed willing to forgo a life-saving vaccine to “own the libs” — but McCain pushed back, arguing that a lot of the confusing messaging was coming directly from the CDC, the White House and Fauci himself. (RELATED: ‘Your Influence In The Republican Party Is Almost Zero’: Meghan McCain Unloads On Joy Behar In Testy Spat Over Matt Gaetz)
“Joy, do you think Dr. Fauci is trying to clear up the confusion?” cohost Whoopi Goldberg asked.
Behar noted that Fauci had to be somewhat diplomatic, saying that he had to be careful about stepping on people’s feelings or their civil liberties.
“I don’t have to be that way. It’s not that complicated, people. It’s not nuclear physics. All you have to do is get the damn vaccine,” Behar continued, and despite CDC guidance to the contrary, advised people to continue to wear masks inside even if they were fully vaccinated.
“What is the complicated problem here with people? I don’t understand. This is just to own the libs? Maybe they’re not seeing enough on television the way people suffer when they get this disease,” Behar went on to say that people lined up to get the polio vaccine after seeing images of kids in iron lungs.
“I was like, oh my God, I don’t want to be in there. Get me that shot. Everybody is getting it. You’re not owning the libs by not getting the shot. Nobody is growing an extra arm, nobody’s growing an extra head. Everybody is fine. It’s the people not taking it who are not fine,” she concluded.
“Look, I’ve said it a million times on this show. The messaging is absolute garbage coming from Fauci,” McCain pushed back, arguing that there were a lot of complicated reasons that people might be hesitant to get the vaccine.
“There’s still a lot of hesitancy in the African American community. A nurse I know who actually was administering vaccines said that her daughter wouldn’t get it because she was worried about fertility issues. This is something I keep hearing a lot,” McCain continued. “I believe the science. I believe it’s healthy.”
“I think, again, the White House and the CDC has done a terrible job,” McCain went on to argue that Behar’s suggesting that people would avoid the vaccine to “own the libs” was not a productive argument.
“A lot of people of color have every right to be skeptical of the government. They have been burnt for generations by various — how should we put it — policies,” Behar pushed back.
“I’m not saying they aren’t —” Meghan tried to object but Behar interrupted.
“Excuse me. I’m not done,” Behar said.
“Republicans have reasons to be … When you come on the show and say we’re ‘owning the libs,’ it’s factually inaccurate about the demographics,” McCain argued.
Behar continued to insist that most of the people refusing the vaccine were getting their information from Fox News hosts like Sean Hannity, and she and McCain proceeded to talk over each other.
“Excuse me. Can I please finish a sentence?” Behar asked, and Goldberg abruptly cut to a commercial break.