Elisabeth Hasselbeck made her return to The View on Wednesday and picked up right where she left off in 2013—arguing with liberal co-host Joy Behar, this time about the Trump administration’s much-criticized response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Hasselbeck, who was the ABC talk show’s resident conservative panelist for 10 years before leaving for Fox & Friends, came back to a surreal scene as Tuesday’s broadcast was the program’s first since ABC announced it would be audience free in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
After the hosts attempted to find some humor in the situation, joking that they could hear an echo, the table got right into discussing the growing pandemic that has resulted in mass cancellations of public events, school and work closures, and tanking stock prices.
Co-host Whoopi Goldberg started by noting the unprecedented situation for the show before highlighting the latest number of U.S. cases, specifically pointing out that this is not some “left-wing conspiracy” to get President Donald Trump out of office. Hasselbeck, meanwhile, said that the public “shouldn’t be in a state of panic” before praising the administration’s actions.
“We’re on the very front end of this right now, and I feel comfortable and confident that because of strong leadership,” she said before getting cut off by the rest of the table.
“Where’s the strong leadership?” Behar wondered aloud while Hostin also questioned Hasselbeck.
“Well, he’s actually proposing a middle-class tax halt right now,” the former Fox host said of President Donald Trump’s stimulus proposals.
“There are only 12 states plus D.C., you know, that have paid leave, and then you have one in four Americans that don’t have paid leave, especially low wage workers,” Hostin fired back. “They are going to work when they don’t feel well because it makes the difference for their family. So when you look at the response, Elisabeth, from this administration, it hasn’t been good. I don’t see real leadership.”
With Hasselbeck repeating that “we have real leadership” as Hostin continued to cite issues with the response, Behar jumped in to ask why Trump hasn’t been tested for the virus despite being in contact with several people who have been in the proximity of infected individuals.
“Have you gotten tested?” Hasselbeck retorted, perhaps unaware of the current guidelines or issues with coronavirus testing.
After Behar complained about the lack of available test kits, Hasselbeck insisted that everyone should believe both the president and his medical advisers, adding, “I think we should prepare. I think we should pray. I’m not going to let coronavirus rule me!” (The ex-Fox & Friends star then proceeded to reach out for hand sanitizer at that exact moment.)
“I’m not listening to ‘Dr. Bone Spurs,’ either,” Behar shot back. “I’m not!”
The tense segment would come to an end when Meghan McCain, who now occupies Hasselbeck’s spot as the show’s conservative voice, said that “both sides” could be true in that this isn’t a “panic situation” but Trump is being too cavalier about the situation.
“I think it’s different for someone like—my friends in Arizona, they’re just not in the same panic level as New Yorkers are,” she continued. “So I do think this is something, that like, the coastal elites are feeling in a different way than people in the middle of the country, which is more than fine.”