After Meghan McCain‘s departure from The View in August, a carousel of Republican guest hosts saw airtime on the ABC daytime talk show. As Carly Fiorina, Gretchen Carlson, and others took turns filling the slot, executive producer Brian Teta said that he was “taking a little time” to find a permanent replacement.
But with 2022 fast approaching, there still hasn’t been a decision. Part of the hold-up seems to be that the show is having a difficult time finding someone who isn’t a conspiracy nut but is also seen by the average Republican as a credible person.
The View‘s producers don’t want an election denier, a Jan. 6 riot supporter, or someone who flirts with the fringe, conspiratorial elements of the GOP, Politico reported Monday, citing sources close to the show. But the show is also looking for a host who has credibility with mainstream Republicans.
It’s telling that this has become an issue. To be fair, part of the reason for the delay may have to do with some former conservatives on the panel claiming unfair treatment by co-hosts and ABC executives. There might also be some candidates who check the political boxes but don’t have the television experience.
But the real issue here is that the “fringe” of the Republican Party has taken over the Republican Party. Trump owns the party and has molded it in his image — including his embrace of conspiracy theories and his disdain for democracy. In short, the “fringe” positions that the show’s producers say they can’t tolerate are the exact same positions required to be a Republican of good standing in the modern GOP.
And Republicans who don’t hold that line find themselves on the outside looking in. For instance, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) — a deeply conservative warmonger — was removed from her House leadership role in May, then symbolically kicked out of the Wyoming GOP in November, for attempting to hold Trump accountable for his role in the Jan. 6 riots. Fellow Trump critics Rep. Adam Kinsinger (R-Ill.) and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) both announced their retirement from Congress, citing the toxic influence of Trump within their party. Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer and Rep. Fred Upton were the subject of an assassination comment by a state GOP chair in March. The common thread linking all five of these members of Congress: they voted to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 riot.
One former View staffer captures it nicely: “They are really looking for a unicorn.”