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Meghan McCain has hit the ground running as the newly-named permanent co-host of Fox News Channel’s afternoon ensemble show Outnumbered. And she’s joining a show that has more than doubled its audience (+209 percent) since launch in 2014 and is coming off its highest-rated week ever. McCain has appeared on Outnumbered frequently since joining Fox News as a contributor in early 2015. We chatted with her about her new role, her thoughts on the election and what the McCain family thinks of the new president-elect.
TVNewser: How did this role come to be?
McCain: I came to Fox News about a year and a half ago as a contributor, and when you are a contributor, they test you on different shows. I enjoyed Outnumbered the most. I started doing it once a week, and they had me on twice per week, and then three times per week. Then about 2 months ago, I had a meeting and they asked if I would be interested in a permanent role, and I of course said yes. I was so excited because this is like a dream job for me.
TVNewser: Do you believe the media treated Donald Trump unfairly during the campaign?
McCain: My experience is unique because one of the first things Trump said out of the gate was an attack on my father’s military service. He said a lot of things that were incendiary and controversial. When he says certain things, the media is going to react in the way that they do. I get that. I think the problem here is that the media didn’t pay enough attention to his supporters. I read an article recently which basically said ‘everyone who voted for Donald Trump is a racist.’ I find that wildly offensive. That person clearly hasn’t left New York or D.C., and hasn’t talked to voters in other parts of the nation about why they are exasperated with the last 8 years, and why they’re so compelled to turn to Donald Trump. I said on the day after Election Day: ‘If you in your life don’t know someone, or have a good friend, or socialize with someone who is a Donald Trump supporter, then I don’t know how you can make negative assumptions about them.’ For me personally, I have good girlfriends who were big Hillary supporters, and many friends in Arizona who support Trump. I think some of the frustration with the media is that they got so much wrong. The majority probably thought Hillary was going to win that night. I was not a big Trump supporter early on, and I was pretty upfront about that. For me, it wasn’t that I didn’t understand why he was popular, because I do, I get it. I understand the populist momentum and the general frustration many have with President Obama. But I do have a problem with a lot of the things Trump has said. The things he said about the Khan family and what he said about my father were wrong. I was also offended by the Billy Bush tape.
TVNewser: You’re a millennial (age 32). Why doesn’t our generation show up to the polls like our elders do?
McCain: This is an age old question. They had the ‘Rock the Vote’ campaign back in the ‘90s, but turnout has just never materialized. It’s a problem I’ve been trying to tackle my entire adult life. I think that if this election hasn’t shown us how important voting is, then nothing will. I read a statistic yesterday that roughly 70 percent of people protesting in Portland didn’t even vote. I feel like you can’t complain if you are not engaged in the process. There are ramifications for not using your voice. Why do people not vote? I don’t know. I have voted in primaries since I was 18. If I didn’t vote, I think my parents would disown me!
TVN: Laura Ingraham has been mentioned as the potential press secretary in the Trump administration. You two have had publicly feuded in the past. Any thoughts on that?
McCain: Honestly, I think she launched my career. When I was only 24, she was talking about my body on her radio show. I just want to thank her for my career. She’s the person who got me national attention. That’s all I have to say about that.
TVNewser: Is Trump’s seemingly populist, nationalist message the future of the Republican Party, or is he an anomaly?
McCain: That’s the $64,000 question, right? That was my issue in this election. I am a small government, traditional conservative. A lot of Donald Trump’s policies are more liberal. He’s a populist, nativist candidate. It’s going to be fascinating to see how he interacts with people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and my father, all of whom are more traditional Republicans. If he in fact is the future of the party, I worry that some people are going to be left behind. But I am willing to give Trump a chance, and see what happens. But yes, ‘what happens to the old school, William F. Buckley Republican?’ is an interesting question. I feel like we are a little bit of a dying breed.
TVNewser: Has your family forgiven Trump for his comments early on in the campaign?
McCain: Yes. Everyone is moving on. But look, I’m never going to be okay with what Donald Trump said about my father’s service. It will always be something I will hold. My father has forgiven, but I’m a little less likely to forgive. Donald Trump is going to be our president, and I wish the best for him because I want what is best for the country.