Meghan McCain’s appearance Tuesday on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” started with a pleasant chat about their shared “Saturday Night Live” connections.
McCain was an intern at “SNL” back when Meyers worked for the NBC sketch comedy show. She also went to high school with current “SNL” cast member Aidy Bryant, who has impersonated “The View” co-host. McCain said she thought Bryant’s recent impression was hilarious, but her husband, Ben Domenech, felt the sketch wrongly portrayed her as an anti-vaxxer.
“So let’s use this time to say that Meghan and I agree on vaccinating your kids,” Meyers said. “Vaccinate your children,” McCain echoed.
The liberal late-night host and the conservative pundit had found common ground. But things got awkward a few minutes later when Meyers asked about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
Meyers noted that McCain had recently brought up controversial statements Omar posted on Twitter in February that were widely criticized as anti-Semitic, and for which the congresswoman “unequivocally apologized.” In an April appearance on “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” McCain discussed the tweets while talking about a deadly shooting at a California synagogue.
“I do think it’s fairly dangerous,” Meyers said, noting that Omar has received death threats over her comments and has pledged to be more careful with her language.
“Don’t you think other people who talk about her need to be a little more thoughtful as well?” he asked. “Or do you stand by those comments of tying … her rhetoric to the synagogue shooting?”
“I don’t think I tied her to it in particular,” McCain said. “I think that I’m calling out what I see as anti-Semitic language and when you’re talking about how hypnotic –”
Meyers interrupted her. “But … you called it out after she apologized for it,” he clarified.
“I think the Democrats are hedging on this and I think it’s very dangerous,” McCain said. She added that she and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., “are in alignment about Israel’s stance in geopolitical politics.”
“I think it’s of the utmost importance,” McCain continued. “And I think she is bringing her party to … extremism on this.”
She cited increasingly visible anti-Semitism in British politics. “I see it happening over there and I worry about it happening over here. I stand by every single thing I said, and if that makes me unpopular in this room or in front of you, so be it.”
“See, that’s a weird thing that you would take the position of trying to be unpopular,” Meyers began. “Here I am, trying to, you know, find the common ground on this because – ”
“Were you bothered by her language on 9/11?” McCain said.
“I thought it was taken out of context,” Meyers said.
“Would you give President Trump the same leverage if he had said the same thing?” McCain asked.
“Well, I would say that Donald Trump is certainly in no position to criticize her language on 9/11, based on the things that he’s said about 9/11,” Meyers said.
“I just think you have to give people the same credence and I think she’s getting a lot of passes,” McCain said.
The difference between Trump and Omar, Meyers retorted, “is one of them has apologized and said they’re going to try to be better and they’re going to be educated by people who know about this.”
“You know, it’s an interesting thing when we have two Muslim women (in Congress) for the first time, they do have a different perspective on things,” Meyers said. “And when we talk about the idea of, like, ‘Let’s all try to meet in the middle on things,’ we have to listen to other people’s perspective.”
“Oh, I agree. I work on ‘The View’ with Joy Behar,” McCain said, bringing to mind the tense exchange she and her co-host had last month – the one that led to her high school classmate impersonating her in an “SNL” sketch.
“Is there a way for people to talk about differences in Israeli policy without getting framed as anti-Semitic language?” Meyers asked.
“Yeah,” McCain said curtly. “I just think you can’t talk about Jews hypnotizing the world, talking about ‘all about the Benjamins.'”
“You do keep bringing up the two tweets that she’s apologized for,” Meyers countered, “and I think that’s a little unfair to her, especially since we’ve established – ”
“Are you her publicist?” McCain interrupted.
“What?” a baffled Meyers asked.
McCain doubled down: “Are you her press person?
“No, I’m just someone who cares about the fact that there’s someone out there who is in a minority, who has had death threats against her, and I think that we should all use the same language,” Meyers said. “You’re asking her to be careful about her language, and I would ask everybody else to be careful about theirs.”
“What would make you happy, coming out of my mouth right now? I’m genuinely curious,” McCain said.
“I’m perfectly happy with everything that’s coming out of your mouth,” Meyers said. “And I like that we spent this time together.”
“My opinions are very strong,” McCain reminded Meyers.
“That is coming across,” he deadpanned.
The former Fox News contributor explained that her “hardcore conservative” opinions are often “daunting” for viewers of ABC’s panel show.
“I think that sometimes it tends to be jarring for people to see someone like me in mainstream news and not Fox,” she said.
“But I think it’s good that you are on mainstream news. You do have a platform,” Meyers said, adding that he also has a platform. “I think we’re very lucky.”
And while their interview ended amicably, it’s safe to say Domenech was again not pleased with how NBC portrayed his wife. Several sites on Wednesday posted crude tweets that the Federalist co-founder had written overnight about Meyers – missives that were eventually deleted. Domenech wrote in a statement to Mediaite that “Seth Meyers is trash. I believe this steadfastly and have for years. He only has his job because of sucking up to the right people. He is an untalented hack.”
Domenech later apologized for “rage tweeting,” noting that while he didn’t like the way the late-night host treated his wife, he was sorry to anyone he offended. But he fired one final shot at Meyers: “I don’t like him, I think he’s a hack,” he tweeted.
I love my wife. I apologize for rage tweeting about how Seth Meyers treated her. I don't like him, I think he's a hack, but I shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry to anyone I offended.
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) May 8, 2019