Seth Meyers Presses Meghan McCain About Ilhan Omar Comments in 'Late Night' Interview

Lloyd Bishop/NBC
Meghan McCain on 'Late Night With Seth Meyers'

During a heated exchange about the Minnesota congresswoman, the 'View' co-host asked the late-night personality, "Are you her publicist?"

Meghan McCain made a Tuesday night appearance on Seth Meyers' Late Night. While their 11-minute conversation started out genial as they discussed topics like McCain's college internship at Saturday Night Live, their exchange took a heated turn when the subject of Ilhan Omar came up.

Meyers was the first to mention the Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, as he was curious about McCain's seeming attempt to tie Omar's former tweets to last month's Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting in San Diego — along with comments McCain made during a recent appearance on ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos.

"When we're having conversations about anti-Semitism, we should be looking at the most extreme on both sides," McCain said on This Week. "I would bring up Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and some of her comments that got so much attention, and in my opinion Nancy Pelosi wasn't harsh enough on her for trafficking in anti-Semitic language, talking about 'All the Benjamins' and how Jewish people had 'hypnotized' the world."

Meyers made it clear that he thought McCain misrepresented Omar's statements, as the Muslim politician has clarified that she was criticizing the Israeli lobby in the U.S. and not all Jews. Omar also apologized for her tweets before McCain referenced them on This Week.

"You once again, on a Sunday news show, brought up her tweets again in the context of that shooting," Meyers said to McCain. "I do think it’s fairly dangerous, and you brought it up after Congresswoman Omar had also had some death threats against her. She’s obviously now stated she needs to be more careful with her language. Don’t you think people who talk about her need to be a little bit more thoughtful as well? Or do you stand by those comments of tying her rhetoric to the synagogue shooting?"

The conservative View co-host replied, "I don’t think I tied her to it in particular. I think that I’m calling out what I see as anti-Semitic language." Meyers then pointed out, "But you called it out after she’d apologized for it. I do want to establish the timeline."

McCain tried to defend her remarks. "I think the Democrats are hedging on this, and I think it's very dangerous, and I think Chuck Schumer and I are in alignment about Israel's stance in geopolitical politics. I think it's of the utmost importance — and I think [Omar] is bringing her party to the extreme…to the extremism on this," she said. "I stand by every single thing I've said, and if that makes me unpopular in this room or in front of you, so be it."

Meyers responded, "See, that's a weird thing, that you can take the position of trying to be 'unpopular.' Here I am trying to find the common ground on this."

McCain then pressed Meyers about his thoughts on Omar's previous "language about 9/11." Meyers told McCain that he thought the controversial parts of a speech Omar made in March at an event hosted by Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles were "taken out of context."

McCain chimed in with this question: "Would you give President Trump the same leverage if he had said the same thing?"

"Well, I would say that Donald Trump is certainly in no position to criticize her language on 9/11 based on the things that he’s said about 9/11, right?" said Meyers, adding, "Let me make the clarification between Donald Trump and Ilhan Omar, is one of them has apologized and said they’re gonna try to do better and they’re going to be educated by people who know about this — that’s what she said. And it’s an interesting thing when we have two Muslim women for the first time [in Congress], they do have a different perspective on things, and when we talk about ‘let’s try to meet in the middle on things,’ we have to listen to other people’s perspectives."

Meyers also suggested that McCain might be irresponsibly amalgamating "Jews" and "Israel." He asked her, "Is there a way for people to talk about differences in Israeli policy without getting framed as anti-Semitic language?"

This prompted McCain to again mention Omar's tweets. "Yeah. I just think you can’t talk about Jews 'hypnotizing' the world, talking about ‘All About the Benjamins,'" she told Meyers.

"You do keep bringing up the two tweets that she’s apologized for, and I think that’s a little unfair to her," Meyers responded, to which McCain fired back, "Are you her publicist?"

"No," Meyers said. "I’m just someone who cares about the fact that there’s someone out there who is in a minority, who has had death threats against her, and I think that we should all use the same language. You’re asking her to be careful about her language and I’d ask everyone to be careful about theirs."

Watch the interview below.