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“The View” co-host Joy Behar had barbed words last week for former Donald Trump loyalists who come on shows like hers and are sharply critical of their old boss, and one former ABC insider said it was likely meant as a shot at two of the women vying for a permanent hosting gig.
Former Trump White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin and former Trump press secretary Stephanie Grisham have made numerous appearances as the token conservative voice since Meghan McCain’s exit last summer, where they’ve been as likely to tear into Trump and his allies as they clash with the liberal women at the table. The former top Trump aides have respectively said he can never be president again, and they’ll work to make sure he can’t get back to office.
During a discussion last week of the Jan. 6 committee hearings and the Capitol riot, Behar expressed disgust for what she called “recovering addicts” who had turned against Trump.
“These people who are now all, like, recovering addicts — recovering addicts in the Trump world that come on, even on this show. They come on this show, they go on other shows, and they’re suddenly turning on Trump,” she said, listing off Trump actions like ripping John McCain and allegedly disparaging veterans. “Where was Mike Pence when Trump called [Ukraine’s president] to interfere in the election… It’s just disgraceful. We’re onto all of them. Don’t try and fool us.”
A former ABC insider told Fox News Digital that Behar is purposeful in her on-air attacks and if they were Farah Griffin or Grisham, they would have taken it as a direct dig.
“If I were one of [those] two people auditioning and Joy had said that, I would take it as a shot,” they said. “Joy is very intentional. She’s very smart, and she’s very intentional with her hits. When she attacks someone, it’s very calculated and intentional.”
The insider added Behar was “very authentic” and the audience values that trait in her and other outspoken hosts like Sunny Hostin and Whoopi Goldberg.
“The audience, daytime audience in particular, really thrives on authenticity,” the insider said. “[Behar] herself is very authentic, love her or hate her.”
While Farah Griffin and Grisham have had their dust-ups with the more liberal hosts at times, the show hasn’t had the sort of raw tension from previous seasons that even led to parodies on “Saturday Night Live.” The conservative chair has certainly been occupied by wildly different figures over the years; other women who’ve sat in the conservative spot include Nicolle Wallace, the former George W. Bush flack who how hosts a rabidly anti-GOP MSNBC program, and Jedediah Bila, a libertarian who was thrown off the show during a return guest appearance last year after explaining why she wasn’t vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“The thing is, if you have someone who won’t go toe to toe with [the liberal hosts], ratings suffer, and you don’t get buzz, and you also don’t get credibility,” the ex-ABC insider said.
Farah Griffin is viewed as one of the frontrunners for the permanent co-hosting gig. The 32-year-old CNN commentator was profiled in Vanity Fair earlier this year, where she said she felt she was close to many people in the country as someone who now opposed Trump but remained a conservative. She had already resigned before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that prompted a mass exodus from the administration, and Trump called his former aide-turned-staunch-critic an irrelevant “backbencher” after she claimed Trump had admitted to her that he’d truly lost the 2020 election, something he publicly has not said.
One of her most memorable moments as a guest host on “The View” was with a fellow Trump alumna. Farah Griffin feuded with former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway in May over their former boss; after Farah Griffin asked how she could consider continuing to support Trump after his stolen election rhetoric and the Jan. 6 riot, Conway shot back that Farah Griffin had changed since leaving the Trump administration.
“I didn’t change, just to be clear, I didn’t change,” Farah Griffin interjected, drawing applause. “I swore an oath to the Constitution, not to Donald Trump.”
The ABC program is in its 25th year and is the top-rated daytime talk show, due in large part to its ability to generate those kinds of social media-friendly moments and arguments between its hosts, something it had in no short supply when McCain was on the program.
Since she left, the show has also rotated in Lindsey Granger, who memorably clashed with Sunny Hostin in May and sparked Hostin’s remarks to her and contributor Ana Navarro that she didn’t understand how Blacks or Latinos could be Republicans, and the left-wing Lincoln Project’s Tara Setmayer, who previously worked as a House GOP staffer but is now a vociferous critic of the party. Former NBC sports reporter Michele Tafoya and conservative commentator Lauren Wright have also made guest appearances.
Navarro, also a CNN commentator in addition to often appearing on “The View,” remains a Republican but is staunchly liberal and openly supports Democrats; she even did work for Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign in her home state of Florida.
Behar’s broadside at former Trump acolytes who are now speaking out against him was preceded by Navarro.
Navarro roasted Grisham to her face in March when Grisham claimed that Trump laughed at some of his supporters behind closed doors; Navarro wondered why she hung around the White House so long if Grisham found the president so objectionable. Grisham, put on the defensive, said she saw things she “hated” in the West Wing but stayed on partly because she was a single mother and needed the work, and she only wanted to move forward and work against Trump.
Behar jumped in on Grisham’s behalf at that time, asking Navarro if it wasn’t possible for someone to genuinely “see the light.” Navarro angrily retorted, “Four years later?”, reeling off a list of alleged Trump offenses.
“You don’t know the things I stayed in there and stopped,” Grisham said, adding, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, and I would want him to not be ever elected again,” clapping her hands for effect.
Three months later, Behar sounded like Navarro in going after those who recently left the Trump orbit.
Grisham and a representative for “The View” didn’t respond to requests for comment. Farah Griffin pointed Fox News Digital to an article it published about Behar’s remarks last week when asked for comment.