EXCLUSIVE: Conservative firebrand Meghan McCain doesn’t regret walking away from “The View,” or standing up for what she believes in. However, the “Bad Republican” author has one regret that has nothing to do with television, politics or ideology.
“I want 30 more children,” McCain told Fox News Digital. “I wish I had started having children earlier. The biggest regret of my life is not having children sooner.”
McCain, who gave birth to her first daughter, Liberty, in 2020, left ABC News’ “The View” earlier this year. She publicly said she wanted to spend more time at home with her family, but behind the scenes she admits co-host Joy Behar’s icy on-air declaration that she “didn’t miss” McCain when she went on maternity leave was the last straw for the show’s token conservative to walk away.
“That is the reason I left the show,” McCain said of Behar’s infamous jab. “I thought, ‘This s–t isn’t worth it anymore.'”
McCain details her behind-the-scenes drama at the ABC News gabfest in her new memoir, “Bad Republican,” which is exclusively on Audible. Much like Behar didn’t miss her, McCain doesn’t miss the “toxic” environment of “The View,” where she was sick and tired of liberal colleagues leaking her every move to tabloids.
“It’s not that I was an angel the entire time, of course, I was there for years. You’re not an angel every single day at work, especially in such a high-level, contentious environment. I’m sure when this book comes out, ABC will have many things to say about things that I did,” she said. “But I never told a woman who had just gotten back from maternity leave, on air, that I didn’t miss her and think that it was hilarious.”
McCain is much happier nowadays spending time at home with her daughter.
“I’m obsessed with her,” McCain said. “But the process of getting to this beautiful place was not easy.”
McCain and husband Ben Domenech lost a baby to a miscarriage in 2019. The outspoken conservative didn’t hide the tragedy, instead penning a New York Times op-ed noting “about three million” children in America are lost each year to miscarriages. By opening up about the sometimes culturally taboo, extremely personal situation, McCain has emerged as an unlikely sounding board for women going through similar struggles.
People now approach McCain to discuss miscarriages “all the time,” she said, noting that it’s difficult to hear such sad news but she considers herself fortunate to be able to help others.
“It’s such a privilege to have people share such personal things with me and to feel comfortable talking to me about, you know, things that are very private and very painful,” McCain said. “People share it quite a bit and it’s really a nice part of my life.”
McCain said she likes to bond with people, and over the past few years, strangers frequently approach her with two specific topics in mind.
“My dad’s cancer and my miscarriage,” she said. “It’s not politics, it’s not ‘The View,’ it’s not like Arizona. It is a miscarriage. Women talk to me about miscarriages and people talk to me about cancer.”
McCain’s father, the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, died in 2018 after a battle with brain cancer. Her miscarriage – a year later – came after an intense appearance on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” in which the liberal comedian challenged McCain on her repeated criticism of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. At one point, McCain asked Meyers if he was Omar’s “publicist,” and she lost her baby shortly afterward.
“I felt so guilty and so ashamed that I had put myself in a position where I was on this show. I’m very candid about this in my book,” McCain said.
“The point isn’t to s–t on Seth Meyers, although I would never be comfortable appearing on his show again, obviously, but the point of it was that we, as women, there are so many added burdens that have to do with pregnancy and motherhood that I could never have possibly imagined,” McCain said, adding that doctors assured her the combative interview didn’t cause the miscarriage.
“Obviously, there’s no biological reason why anything like that would have to do with it,” she said.
McCain doesn’t mind opening up about personal details of her life, but sometimes her candidness causes pain. Because she mentions her late father so often, critics and Twitter trolls alike are often quick to chalk up McCain’s success to nepotism and the 36-year-old admits she takes the specific putdown personally.
“I shouldn’t let it bother me, I should be at a place where I should let it go. But of course, it bothers me,” McCain said. “They never want to give me agency over my own life and over my own accomplishments, but there is a lot of people out there who have famous parents or politicians as parents who have failed spectacularly.”
While McCain has had plenty of success on her own, she recognizes that her iconic father obviously helped pave the way.
“When I interned at ‘Saturday Night Live,’ do you think I got that internship just because I was like, the best intern? No, my dad is friends with Lorne Michaels. There are a lot of doors that have been opened for me. There’s a lot of people that will want to talk to me because my last name is McCain,” she said.
Despite getting peeved when critics, especially members of the media, try to chalk up her success to nepotism, McCain knows many Americans have much larger issues.
“I have friends who can’t pay their rent right now, like my friends from high school, my friends from home who really keep me grounded and keep me in reality,” McCain said. “Those are real problems, and I’m well aware of how blessed and lucky and privileged I am. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get annoying and bother me.”
McCain doesn’t have to worry about the daily grind of co-hosting “The View” any longer, but Liberty keeps her quite busy. She found that sitting down to read an entire book can be a chore and decided others are presumably in the same boat, so her memoir landed exclusively on Audible.
“I just don’t have the kind of time that I used to,” she said, noting that she currently prefers audio content.
“I’m in the car and grocery store, I’m going for a walk with my daughter and I can put my earbuds in. I listen to podcasts and I do my makeup or like, I’m getting ready in the morning,” McCain said. “I just wanted these stories to be as easily accessible as possible to people.”
“Bad Republican” is formatted so that each chapter is like a standalone podcast, allowing listeners to start and stop with ease. McCain is pleased with her decision to keep the memoir as an audio book because it allows listeners to hear the emotion in her voice.
“There’s one part when I was talking about reliving the moment that my dad passed and I had to do it like, I mean, like eight times because I kept crying,” she said. “I told my editor, ‘If you want to keep the emotion, you can.’ Like, it’s sad, it’s so hard to talk about. It’s still hard for me to relive and that s–t is real and honest. And people, even if they don’t like me, I think they respect that.”
McCain is also happy that her fans won’t have to shell out cash for an expensive hardcover. She decided “before [Joe] Biden was elected and the economy went to absolute holy hell” that her project would be affordable.
“A lot of people in my life have been hit really, really hard by the past few years and I didn’t want to say ‘Here, spend $25, $29 on this book,'” she said. “It’s much easier for me to be like, ‘You have Audible?’”
“Bad Republican” hits Audible on Oct. 21.