"I'm not trying to be disrespectful," says McCain, as she continues to debate with her 'View' cohosts.
The Hot Topics table was hotter than usual on Tuesday, as the women got into it over controversial comments Bernie Sanders made during a CNN town hall on Monday night.
During his appearance, Sanders was asked whether he thinks felons should be allowed to vote, even while behind bars. He said, yes, even "terrible people" like Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, terrorists and murderers should have voting rights.
"I believe even if they're in jail they're paying their price to society but that should not take away their inherent American right to participate in our democracy," he said, which was not met with much approval on the ABC morning show. Vermont, where Sanders is from, is one of two states which allows voting during prison terms.
Watch "The View" co-hosts debate the topic in full below.
SANDERS FAVORS FELONS’ RIGHT TO VOTE: When asked during a town hall whether felons should have the right to vote even while incarcerated, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he believes “every single person does have the right to vote” — the co-hosts weigh in. https://t.co/f8u2wc159S pic.twitter.com/FPeXEiQ9f3— The View (@TheView) April 23, 2019
"It doesn't sound good, it really doesn't," said Joy Behar, with Abby Huntsman saying it also sounds "crazy" to allow voting behind bars. Sunny Hostin also said she wasn't sure Sanders' position was "appropriate" either.
"Talking about prison reform and talking about low level crimes like Alice Marie Johnson getting let out of prison, I believe a woman like that should have the right to vote," said Meghan McCain. "For Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris to go on TV and say that the Boston terrorist deserves any rights in this country after killing three people and injuring 264 in 2013, I think is disgraceful."
"RNC turn that into an ad," she continued. "It is not hard to say people who commit acts of terror in this country should be punished, but god forbid they should have any rights that any of us have. It is not hard to put lines between terrorists and people who commit low level crimes. It's not hard to say the Boston terrorist is a psycho lunatic who is a threat not only to national security, but shouldn't be allowed the right to vote in any elections. It's not that hard."
Hostin noted that Kamala Harris simply stated, "I think we should have that conversation," when asked about voting rights for felons currently incarcerated. "That's not good enough for me, Kamala, that's not good enough for me," responded McCain.
The real debate, however, sparked after the conversation turned to whether people like Tsarnaev should be able to vote if they're ever released from prison. Currently, it's a state issue, with 14 states automatically restoring voting rights after release. Others restore it following parole or probation or based on the type of conviction.
"If they let this terrorist out because he served his time, he gets, because he's an American citizen," Whoopi Goldberg began, before McCain audibly gasped. "Why is your mouth open like that?" asked Goldberg.
"Whoopi, he killed people, he's a radicalized terrorist," said McCain.
"Our constitution says, if you've done your time, you have, we hope, been reformed, you've been changed," Goldberg said, as McCain sat with her mouth open. "If they let him out, that means they feel his time is out and he gets to become an American citizen again."
"He should never be let out," said McCain, to which Whoopi agreed. "He's probably never going to get out," said Goldberg.
"Does anyone at this table think that anyone who's committed an act of terror that killed three Americans and injured 264 should have the right to vote?" McCain asked, getting really fired up.
"That's not the way to ask that question, because this is two different conversations," said Whoopi. "If you've done your time, that's what prison reform is about. If they let this man out, they are saying he has been reformed, we have fixed him. He's been rehabilitated."
"Oh my god, I'm not trying to be disrespectful to any of you," said McCain as she reiterated her belief that he should never be let out of prison.
"You're missing the point," Goldberg responded. "You keep saying, if they let him out. Yes, if they let him out, he gets those rights back. [But] no, he should not get out."
When asked by Hostin how she feels about incarcerated people in Vermont having the right to vote, McCain talked over her with a personal anecdote. "Abby and I didn't have brothers that served multiple times, I didn't watch my brother deploy when he was 19 to fight this crap, to have them come here and have the right to vote."
Whether in prison or post-release, McCain ended the debate by reiterating that she doesn't think terrorists should be able to vote, period.
"For me, I would appreciate it if Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris said there are true monsters in this world and true monsters for me are domestic terrorists, people like that not only shouldn't have the right to vote," she said. "I don't think they should have the right to do anything in this country. They killed Americans."
"And they should not get out," said Whoopi, who then had a hard time tossing to commercial.