Meghan McCain and “Late Night” talk show host Seth Meyers clashed over McCain’s criticisms of Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
Omar has repeatedly been accused of anti-Semitism, and Meyers brought up McCain’s criticism after a deadly attack at a synagogue shooting at the Poway, Calif., last month, when McCain referenced Omar’s posts on Twitter.
“You do keep bringing up the two tweets she apologized for,” Meyers told McCain, “and I think it’s a little unfair to her, especially because — ”
“Are you her publicist?” McCain said. “Are you her press person?”
“No,” Meyers said. “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 we should all use the same language that you’re asking her to be careful about her language. And I would ask that everyone to be careful about theirs.”
The audience applauded.
Omar (D-MN) was criticized after she retweeted a post describing how she and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) faced consequences from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for criticizing Israel. “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” Omar wrote in a tweet, which she later deleted. The American Jewish Committee asked her to apologize and labeled her remarks “stunningly anti-Semitic.”
Meyers repeatedly defended Omar.
“I do think it’s fairly dangerous and you brought it up after Congresswoman Omar had some death threats against her,” Meyers said. “Do you think, you know, she has obviously now stated that she needs to be more careful with her language, don’t you think other people who talk about her need to be more thoughtful as well? Or do you stand by those comments of tying her to this, her rhetoric to this synagogue shooting?”
“I don’t think I tied her to it in particular,” McCain said. “I’m calling out what I see as anti-Semitic language and when you’re talking about — ”
“But even after, you called her out even after she apologized for it,” Meyers said. “I do want to establish the timeline.”
“I think that Democrats are hedging on this and I think it’s very dangerous,” McCain said. “And I think [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer and I are in alignment about Israel’s stance in geopolitical politics. I think it is of the utmost importance and I think she is bringing her party to extremism on this. And I think we have to look to Europe and what’s happening over there and in British politics. Anti-Semitism is very common and I see it happening over there and I worry about it happening over here. I stand by everything that I’ve said and if that makes me unpopular in this room or in front of you, so be it.”
In another exchange, the two discussed Omar’s remarks in a speech when she a Muslim rights group was founded “after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
“Were you bothered by her language on 9/11?” McCain said.
“I thought it was taken out of context,” Meyers said, “and I think if you watched that whole speech — ”
“Would you give President Trump the same leverage if he had said the same thing?” McCain interrupted. “I just think you have to give people the same credence.”
“It’s an interesting thing when we have two Muslim women for the first time, they do have a different perspective on things,” Meyers said. “And I think when we talk about the idea of ‘Let’s all try to meet in the middle on things,’ we have to listen to other people’s perspective.”
“I agree, I work on ‘The View’ with Joy Behar every day,” McCain said. “I listen to other people’s perspectives all the time.”