On Wednesday, ABC’s The View played its part in the damage control operation to defend New York Times editorial board writer Mara Gay after she explained how she was “disturb[ed]” and frightened by the sight of American flags as a racist, a sign of white supremacy, and way of identifying Americans who support Donald Trump (and thus the kind of people that are supposed to be avoided).
The View’s voice-over announcer set the tone with a tease warning of “[t]he backlash over claims that the stars and stripes have been politicized into a symbol of power and intimidation for white Americans.”
Co-host Whoopi Goldberg opened the debate by describing Gay’s experience on Long Island over Memorial Day weekend as having “put things into a scary perspective for her” and proof that the flag has come to mean something other than “freedom.”
Fellow lefty co-host Sunny Hostin was the worst, griping that she was “so surprised actually that she is receiving this kind of backlash” and said this should have been a case where those who disagreed with Gay folded and accepted her take as fact because Gay’s a Black woman.
Invoking Trump as having sullied the flag, Hostin also brought up the January 6 attack on the Capitol as having sullied the American flag by having supposedly come to define what happened that day.
She also relayed a vacation to North Carolina’s Outer Banks that turned out to be a traumatic experience in which she saw “people in pick-up trucks with Confederate flags flying alongside the U.S. flag and that scared me” as if she were being told “[y]ou don't belong here.”
After suggesting that seeing American flags outside the Fourth of July was a way to identify Trump supporters, she said the presence of that flag (as well as Trump and Confederate ones as well) sends a threatening “message of white supremacy” and “racism.”
Co-host Joy Behar also defended Gay, but she would add towards the end of saying her peace that she’ll “be displaying the American flag in my house on July 4th because I am also a very patriotic person and I believe in the Constitution.”
Before that, however, she invoked a claim from the late George Carlin that “when fascism comes to America, it’ll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a Bible. And let's not forget that Trump....wrapped himself in it.”
Calling out “Trump Americans” as if to label them grotesque, Behar says she “resent[s]” the idea a group of people would hold the flag and “follow a guy who mocks servicemen, who colludes with foreign governments to — to influence our elections, who abuses and disrespects the Constitution.”
After a break, co-host Meghan McCain brought the usual balance as she defended the American flag (click “expand”)
GOLDBERG: So, Meghan, what do you think about this conversation? Is it one you've heard over and over?
MCCAIN: Well, I think you and Joy are right that the American flag has been used for political reasons. I know in the '60s it was burned to protest the Vietnam War. I was actually really happy to hear you, Joy, say that you're still going to proudly display your flag on the Fourth of July because, you know, the flag can mean different things to different people and you can love something — in the same way that I love my husband, I love my friends and it doesn’t mean I don’t see their flaws. I always think about America that’s the greatest country in the world and if you can find a country that’s better, show me. I have traveled the entire world. I can't find any place I love more than being here. I will say there are some people — she was on Long Island on Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day is to memorialize and honor those who have fallen. The flag isn’t just simply used in insurrectionists [sic]. It was used to cover my dad's casket. It's used to cover the caskets of fallen soldiers who come back from war. It's used to be put on the graves at Arlington to honor those who have given the greatest sacrifice. And in the same way I'm open to hear what the flag means to other people, I hope they're equally — and this writer can hear what the flag means to my experiences and my home is covered in them. Our case has it on them. I named my daughter Liberty. I think I’m very clear on this issue. I love this country. I'm very patriotic and I love waving the American flag and there's no argument that's going to change my — my — the right to do that.
Sara Haines echoed Behar’s train of thought, saying she “actually do see the point [Gay] was making” in that “the flag has been somewhat co-opted, mainly during this — this former Trump era, kind of like the masks” with it having become a way of “spotting people in the crowd.”
Haines also lamented that people who aren’t progressive like her are seen as anti-flag or anti-American when they say something like Gay did (click “expand”):
But when I think of the flag, I — I think of growing up and seeing all the military displays of it. As — as Meghan mentioned, when they put it over a casket, that reverence and honor you feel for the ultimate sacrifice. The fact that we lower it in — due to key leaders and important people that have left their mark here in this country. And I — I love — I love it. I love it on Fourth of July and I refuse to let people take that away, that power away because anyone who has a family knows we're the most critical of the things we love the most. So, I often think that, when people on the left or Democrats are critical of it, some people misinterpret that to mean that we must not be patriotic. And I believe this flag could come back to what it always has been, flying high. But I also think of the Olympics and how proud you feel when someone wins and you hear the national anthem. And so, I do — I do understand what she was saying cause I think it has become politicized. But I also believe that we can yank that back as fast as it was taken away and let it fly high as a work in progress, all the work — how far we've come, how far we've got to go and that we're all here and I agree it's the best place on Earth. I wouldn't be anywhere else.
As time began to run out, Hostin interjected to both falsely claim she had “a legal note” in the form of The Times’s statement that defended Gay’s comments and tout a James Baldwin quote to suggest her constant and harsh criticism of America was because she loves this country.
Goldberg concluded by saying “everyone has the right to their opinion” with her own being “I feel the flag is strong enough to take me kneeling” and that no one race or ethnicity has an exclusive hold on the flag.
This trashing of America was made possible thanks to the endorsement of advertisers such as CarShield, General Mills, Humana, and L'Oreal. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant View transcript from June 9, click here.