Meghan McCain (Getty/Salon)

Thank you, Meghan McCain! "you were at my wedding Denise...." is the meme we all needed

With one devastating Twitter @-reply, "The View" co-host finally went viral for something fans and haters can like


Rachel Leah
March 27, 2019 7:00PM (UTC)

Meghan McCain, or as she regularly refers to herself, "JOHN MCCAIN'S DAUGHTER!" is no stranger to going viral. Usually, it's related to "The View" co-host's knack for amplifying fear-mongering around a certain black Muslim freshman congresswoman, or more generally finding innovative ways to center herself and her feelings about political and cultural topics, regardless of the relevancy.

But when she began trending on Tuesday, McCain finally gave her fans and haters — and even those only vaguely aware of her show's existence — that rare gift: a good viral moment all can enjoy equally.

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"Can someone explain to me the purpose of The View?" Denise McAllister wrote on Twitter. McAllister, who is not John McCain's daughter, is a senior contributor at The Federalist, the conservative publication which McCain's own husband founded. "It seems to me to be a roundtable of delusional mental midgets ricocheting ignorance and lack of emotional regulation."

Appended to McAllister's shade was an article specifically criticizing McCain, which suggested ABC replace her with a more President Trump-loving conservative. McCain's face, a still from an episode of "The View," was also the featured image on the story link and hence, the face of McAllister's snarky tweet.

No stranger to shameless self-promotion, McCain often slams her critics on social media. But given who McAllister is — a fellow conservative, a Federalist contributor and, as we will soon learn, much more — McCain couldn't simply issue a standard "liberal takedown," as per her brand.

Instead, McCain replied to McAllister's tweet, writing simply, "you were at my wedding Denise...."

Let's break this down: Writing in all lowercase to indicate an off-the-cuff, unbothered response; the devastating four-dot ellipses, suggesting not a breezy trailing off but rather a far more brutal second sentence McCain chose to omit but wanted McAllister to know she could deploy if necessary.

Then the Federalist writer and friend — frenemy? — caught red-handed gossiping about McCain, and called out for it, tries to reverse with an obsequious about-face.

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"I think the photo on the story made it look like this was personally directed at you, Meghan," McAllister tweeted back. "My comment was directed at The View and the mental midgets who surround you. I don’t even know how you do it daily and my hat is off to you for standing strong in the midst of crazy."

Nice try, Denise. McAllister backpedaled quicker than the Cook County Attorney's Office could suddenly drop all the charges against Jussie Smollett.

While McAllister tried to play that sacred high school defense of "I-didn't-mean-YOU-just-all-the-other-girls," the damage was done. As everything glorious (and not) on the Internet goes, McCain's calm burn became a meme almost instantly.

What if Shakespeare had thought of McCain's rejoinder?

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Could, "you were at my wedding, Denise" be a powerful new protest chant?

Did it even happen if it wasn't given the cartoon treatment by the New Yorker?

McCain's versatile response would even be an appropriate burn to add to Trump's repertoire of grade-school insults and non sequitur outbursts.

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Could the "you were at my wedding, Denise...." be the new dismissal we have all been looking for?

Allana Harkin, "Full Frontal" director and correspondent, imagines opportunity for an ongoing dramatic reenactment of McCain's snub.

Even Lena Dunham joined in with a "Girls" reference, probably excited that for once, the Internet wasn't coming for her.

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Naturally, McCain basked in the attention, calling the "clap back" her "gift to the Internet" and for all to use.

And for once, McCain is not wrong. As New York Times opinion writer Jamelle Bouie said, "was kind of feeling down about this week and then i saw 'you were at my wedding denise' and now i feel revitalized".

THANK YOU, MEGHAN. With the end (or not) of the Mueller investigation story and the end (or not) of the Jussie Smollett incident, the Internet really needed a good laugh. Many thanks to McCain for giving everyone a quote to rally around.

Of course, there were some on the Internet who sneered at the fun. Yes, McCain has a huge platform to express her damaging politics, and for some on the Left, a feud between a Federalist and a McCain has no winners. But the joy from reveling in the meme-ification of this moment comes precisely from the exchange being rooted in Republican mean-girl gossip performance: the hypocrisy and humiliation of McAllister, the thrill of witnessing a betrayal of McCain, followed by McAllister's undignified backpedaling.

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Will the relationship between Meghan and Denise ever recover? Who cares?

Over on McAllister's timeline, the gloves are off and she's traded snark for full on jabs. Responding to a supporter who claimed that McAllister was actually agreeing with McCain, the Federalist contributor replied, "I think we’ve established that most people don’t read. But, hey, I was at her wedding," she tweeted. "Something I would have preferred that the public didn’t know. But private ain’t really so private anymore."

Apparently, McAllister also isn't a fan of the memes. "I have no desire to take the tweet back. . . Meghan and I are barely aquainted [sic] and we're not friends."

Ouch, Denise.... I think it's safe to say she won't make the guest list for the next big McCain event.

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Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

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