During Sunday night's episode of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver criticized The View co-host Meghan McCain for her previous defense of former President Donald Trump's racist language. According to Too Fab, Oliver took aim at McCain after she voiced her support for the Stop Asian Hate movement, as he said that it was a bit hypocritical since she previously defended Trump's use of the term "China virus" in reference to COVID-19. In light of his criticism, McCain's rep has released a statement in which she apologized for her past comments.
On Last Week Tonight, Oliver spoke about the rising rate of crimes against individuals of Asian descent amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He said that there was a direct correlation between this rise in crime and Trump's rhetoric regarding the coronavirus. Not only did he criticize the former president for his role in the rise in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), but he also criticized McCain for her original stance on Trump's language.
"Our long ugly history of anti-Asian racism and the fact that it often peaks during times of crisis is the very reason why, just last year, many were loudly warning that Trump calling Covid names like 'the China virus' was likely to lead in a rise of violence against people of Asian descent," Oliver said. He added that, "at the time -- not everyone seemed to find [the correlation] convincing." The show then aired a clip of McCain on The View, during which she downplayed Trump's racist rhetoric. She said, "I think if the left wants to focus on PC labeling this virus, it is a great way to get Trump reelected. I don't have a problem with people calling it whatever they want. It's a deadly virus that did originate in Wuhan. I don't have a problem with it."
Oliver did point out that McCain shared her support for the AAPI community on social media by sharing a "Stop Asian Hate" message. He said that it was a "fine statement sentiment to throw up on Twitter after the fact. But, there has to be an understanding that saying I don't have a problem with calling it the China virus is very much giving space for that hate to grow." On Monday, McCain released a statement to Entertainment Weekly in which she apologized for her past stance on Trump's comments. Her representative said, "Meghan condemns the reprehensible violence and vitriol that has been targeted towards the Asian American community. There is no doubt Donald Trump's racist rhetoric fueled many of these attacks and she apologizes for any past comments that aided that agenda."