“The View” co-host Joy Behar was horrified by 2017’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, until she wasn’t. And all it took to change Behar’s mind was a single tweet.
On January 7, Unite the Right organizer Richard Spencer tweeted, “I deeply regret voting for and promoting Donald Trump in 2016.” On Wednesday, Behar read the tweet to her applauding studio audience, calling the tweet “some good news.”
This is, of course, the same Spencer who had tweeted about Trump’s “threatening to destroy Aryan heritage sites and the Iranian people for a Zionist war” three days earlier, lest anyone think he has changed his stripes. But no matter, Joy Behar is apparently ready to warmly welcome Spencer to the Resistance.
Behar’s complete about-face is notable, because the Charlottesville rally is clearly something that’s stuck with her. Here are five other segments on “The View” where Behar previously referenced that same rally as an example of something she considered blatantly bad:
Behar raised Charlottesville during a conversation about CPAC in February 2018, commenting, “There’s this penchant for Nazis now [among conservatives] with Charlottesville, and the Neos, and ‘there are good guys on both sides,’ and now [France’s] Marine Le Pen.’”
In late April 2019 during a discussion with Newt Gingrich, Behar disagreed with Gingrich’s saying that Trump clearly opposed white supremacists and neo-Nazis, telling Gingrich, “It’s not that clear,” and later adding that Trump “give[s] dog whistles to white nationalists.”
In another segment that day, Behar again recalled Charlottesville while blaming President Trump for the April 27 attack on the Chabad of Poway, saying, “‘He talks out of both sides of his mouth. He’s provocative. He gives dog whistles constantly to these people, and then [Trump counselor] Kellyanne [Conway] goes out there and defends him … Take responsibility for your actions, Mr. President. You are the culprit.’”
In early May 2019, Behar raised the rally while speaking with Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, saying, “On the right, what we have is the president of the United States in Charlottesville saying there are good people on both sides and people are yelling ‘Jews will not replace us.’ There are not good people on both sides.”
In late May 2019, while “discussing how Trump was courting black voters,” Behar recalled the rally yet again, noting, “‘Black people know about Charlottesville . . . And they know about him saying these are [censored] countries.”
Behar is not wrong to recall Charlottesville. That August weekend was a major cultural moment, as well as a low point for our country. It shouldn’t be hard — or a matter of partisan affiliation — to acknowledge that.
And now I’ll say this extra loud for the people sitting way in the back: It’s possible to dislike, or even detest, Trump while also holding the line against extremism. Your political adversary’s adversary needn’t always be your friend, especially when they espouse hateful views that have resulted in real lives lost in recent years. But if the members of the far-right are your new besties, Joy Behar, know that by praising them, you’re not owning the president or the cons more generally. You’re just helping to normalize extremist views.