Meghan McCain warns of ‘oppressive climate of judgment’ in exclusive excerpt of new memoir ‘Bad Republican’

EXCLUSIVEMeghan McCain’s new audio memoir “Bad Republican” dishes on everything from the behind-the-scenes drama at “The View” and growing up as the daughter of an American icon to her views on cancel culture and the future of the Republican Party. 

An exclusive excerpt obtained by Fox News Digital offers a glimpse inside the memoir, as McCain tells the story of asking then-presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke about his infamous comment that his wife Amy is raising their three children “sometimes with my help.” 


The botched line resulted in negative publicity for O’Rourke, who appeared on “The View” weeks later in May 2019. McCain told O’Rourke that, in her opinion, a female candidate wouldn’t have been able to get away with a similar comment. 

“Do you think you can get away with more because you’re a man?” McCain asked.

"Bad Republican" hits Audible on Oct. 21. 

“Bad Republican” hits Audible on Oct. 21. 

McCain doesn’t agree with O’Rourke politics and didn’t appreciate his answer, which she called rehearsed and weak. However, the outspoken conservative understands why O’Rourke made the gaffe in the first place. 

“There is an oppressive climate of judgment in public life these days. And I worry that whenever people feel censored, it breeds animosity and discontent. Not to mention that it’s downright un-American,” McCain said in her memoir. “We’re pushing people into boxes and into spaces that are sad and dangerous on both sides because we’re not listening to one another.” 


Fox News Digital has obtained the following exclusive excerpt from McCain’s audio memoir, “Bad Republican,” which hits Audible on October 21: 

When I think about people struggling to come back from problematic comments, I think about Beto O’Rourke. When he came on The View, I asked him about his appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair, where he appeared with the pull quote, “I want to be in it. Man, I’m just born to be in it.” I also asked him about something he said about his wife: “She is raising, sometimes with my help” their three kids.

That line played poorly, especially with women, who saw a serious double standard. What female politician could have gotten away with saying she helped out with the kids “sometimes”?

When he answered me, it was as if someone had pushed a button on a pre-recorded message. In a very practiced voice, he started talking about privilege and about how women of color are paid so much less on the dollar and foundational discrimination and the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow and… In a plodding, contrite voice, he went on and on and on.

I thought, this man’s never going to be president. That was not a tough question, and this is the worst answer I’ve ever heard. 

We need to live in a world where someone can say, “I screwed up. I made a dumb error. I’m sorry,” and for the conversation to move on. So many people want to fall so hard on the sword that it’s debasing. People mess up. It’s life. And at a certain point, you must be authentic in politics. I didn’t think he’d screwed up that badly, but he seemed unable to bounce back from it. It certainly shouldn’t have been a kill shot for his campaign. It was amazing to watch a man who’d been hailed as a leading candidate make such a JV mistake.

“I have my work cut out for me,” he said, talking in a focus-grouped way about reinforcing narratives of privilege. The camera cut to me, and my brow was furrowed at him. W asked him if his wife hadn’t been bothered by what he’d said. He said she told him she knew what he meant and appreciated the sentiment.

Meghan McCain credited her bond with former colleagues Janice Dean, Kennedy, Dagen McDowell and Kat Timpf from Fox News for helping her through tough times.

Meghan McCain credited her bond with former colleagues Janice Dean, Kennedy, Dagen McDowell and Kat Timpf from Fox News for helping her through tough times.

Sunny said his wife had gone easy on him.

“You’re clearly not married to Meghan or Sunny,” I said.

As much as I didn’t like the overly cautious way Beto handled that slipup, I did understand the fear that led to it. There is an oppressive climate of judgment in public life these days. And I worry that whenever people feel censored, it breeds animosity and discontent. Not to mention that it’s downright un-American.

I know people who’ve lost jobs for being too intense. They might yell at an intern for doing something super wrong, and then they’re suddenly banned from the premises. And I understand why such people might become radical or MAGA types.

Sarah Silverman has said something similar: “If we don’t give these people a path to redemption, then they’re going to go where they are accepted, which is the… dark side.” She says without some means of redemption, they’re “going to find someplace where they are accepted and it’s not going to be with progressives…I think there should be some kind of path. Do wewant people to be changed? Or do we want them to freeze in a moment we found on [the] internet from twelve years ago?”

We’re pushing people into boxes and into spaces that are sad and dangerous on both sides because we’re not listening to one another. I know I’m scared of interacting at all with the woke set. I never know what to say. I always think I’m going to say the wrong thing, and I’m going to make a joke that’s going to offend someone and I’m going to get fired. You’re walking on eggshells. I know I only want to talk about the weather in a corporate environment because you hear all these stories about everyone reporting one another to HR for the smallest things.

This is the level of absurdity we’ve reached: Somebody on Bill Maher’s show said he made a joke to a woman in an elevator. When she said, “Which floor do you get off on?” He said, “The lingerie floor.” She reported him because she thought it was sexually aggressive and violent.

Yes, some people are irredeemable. But an awful lot of people could be returned to society if they were given some way to do it. I’m a forgiver in life in general. I feel like it’s healthy for the forgiven and the forgiver. Again, if you’re raping someone or assaulting someone or hurting someone, goodbye forever. But if you wrote a stupid tweet twenty-five years ago? I’m not so sure.

A lot of people supported Trump purely because he spoke out so forcefully against political correctness. And when you have kids in college saying, “Oh, you didn’t say those words the right way. We’re all going to pile on you and make sure you’re fired,” then anyone opposing them can start to look reasonable.

The conversation around “cancel culture” pushed a lot of uncertain voters toward Trump, as did demands for defunding the police. I believe we need to have more conversations about racial inequality and police reform. Unarmed Black men keep getting shot for no reason. That is a fact and a national crisis. But over the summer, there was pressure to say that therefore it’s okay that these protests were resulting in innocent people getting hurt and in mom-and-pop businesses seeing their storefronts destroyed. We weren’t having a conversation anymore about why we need to reform the way police deal with mental illness, for example—it was all this “Calm down, princess” shit and people saying we should be okay with violence because it’s justified.

Now you have Democrats like South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn coming out to say that slogans like “Defund the Police” tanked a lot of Democratic candidates. It’s the most toxic messaging ever, and I’ve been saying it for months.

On The View, people would tell me that it didn’t mean shut the police down; it meant X, Y, and Z. And I said, “If you’re having to explain what your message is in politics, you’re losing.” Whoopi and Sunny were freaked out by the idea that it was playing poorly with swing voters. They said, “What do you know?”

I said, “I know people are confused. They think you’re trying to remove the police. And then when someone is trying to invade their home, they’ll have no one to call for help. I know you have a Minneapolis City Council President saying on CNN that wanting to call the police when your home gets broken into ‘comes from a place of privilege.’ That’s the kind of thing that could kill the Left going forward.”

To this day, I don’t get why that Samantha Bee writer tweeted that about me, making fun of me for being sensitive about the neighborhood and outing me as living there, inviting a pile on. I’d never even met her. I felt like over the years, I’d given so much to New York. I was an active member of the community. After that Twitter experience, I felt unwelcome. I felt like I’d basically been kicked out of New York City. It felt like a breakup. I haven’t been back since.

I’m still on Twitter, but I try to keep it bland on there as much as possible. And I left Facebook. For a while, I had a private account there, but then all these people from high school were writing strange things and getting in political fights on my wall. I still like Instagram, more or less, but all social media I think of as a weapon. You’ve got to be careful. You’ve got to keep the safety on. And now when I go on vacation, I make sure to delete the Twitter app off my phone.


“Bad Republican” hits Audible on Thursday. 

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