A conversation over when exactly President Donald Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly found out that former White House staff secretary Rob Porter had physically abused his two ex-wives turned into a shouting match today on "The View." Co-hosts Joy Behar, a Democrat, and Meghan McCain, a Republican, lashed out at each other, each describing the other as disrespectful, considering the gravity of the situation at hand.
Behar cut off McCain during the conversation, after she asked where the discussion was heading when it came to Republicans in the White House. Behar then poked fun at Kelly for claiming to be "shocked" by the allegations, despite knowing that his right-hand man had failed to pass an FBI background check, something that resulted in an ongoing temporary security clearance for Porter instead of a permanent one.
"Kelly says he was shocked – shocked I tell you – when he saw photographs of the abuse," Behar said with a smile. "But the White House knew the FBI held up Porter's security clearance over this a long time ago. This happened. The FBI said he doesn't have the security clearance because he might have abused these women. But why is Kelly so shocked?"
"We're talking about the abuse of a woman," McCain said angrily. "Look at that photo. We should not be laughing at that photo."
"We're talking about Kelly. We're not talking about abuse right now," Behar shot back at the panelist. "We are laughing at him being shocked."
"It's not," McCain said, before starting to say something else. "It's a very serious, and as a Republican I am offended . . .," McCain said, only to be cut off by Behar. "As a Democrat," said Behar, "I'm offended by Republicans."
Panelist Sunny Hostin tried to calm the two down and urged them to "talk about the issue at hand." But Hostin's peacekeeping didn't last long, as the feud quickly reignited as comments about the White House's response to the allegations intensified.
"Let's talk about the issue," McCain said. "You're offended by Republicans, so are all Republicans, probably everywhere, offended by me sitting here because I'm a Republican."
"I'm offended by a party that backs a racist," Behar said, alluding to the Trump.
"Oh my God," McCain said, and rolled her eyes.
"Oh, come on, Meghan. Seventy-two percent of the Republican Party thinks he's a good leader," Behar mocked.
"I'm going on the 'Van Jones Show' and I'm talking about this in a way that is respectful and not being told, just because I'm a Republican I'm offending you. We are not going to have a needle throwing out platitudes and hubris like that. I'll have a real conversation about it."
"Oh really?" Behar shot back. "We'll see."
This midday-television sparring match is yet another a sign of just how high tensions are between almost all members of the two parties and just how contentious the currently unraveling Porter story is.
Thursday night, one of Porter's ex-wives, Jennie Willoughby told Anderson Cooper that Porter had been trying to get her to "play down" her allegations as recently as days ago, while Trump himself launched into a breezy defense of his former aide in front of the press today. Kelly, the man suddenly in the middle of this storm, has denied any wrongdoing on his part, even if his own White House said the episode could have been handled better. Given the rising doubts about Kelly, it is not surprising that some are reporting that the president is currently shopping around for his replacement.