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    "Women like that get passes": Meghan McCain says she faces cruelty unlike "people like AOC"

    By Gabriella Ferrigine,


    Meghan McCain sat down with former Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard for the latest episode of her "Citizen McCain" podcast to discuss each of their respective public images as well as Gabbard's little-known struggles with fertility.

    Gabbard, a longtime U.S. Army Reserve officer and former representative for Hawaii's second congressional district from 2013 to 2021, made waves in October of 2022 when she announced her departure from the Democratic Party. McCain, a self-proclaimed anti-MAGA conservative and the daughter of late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced Gabbard as "one of my closest friends."

    The pair began the chat by claiming that their friendship, tinged with periods of political and ideological disagreement, has remained solid across many years as a result of some of their disparate perspectives.

    "Our friendship is an example of what’s possible and what should be the norm in American politics — where we can have disagreements, some minor, some strong, on different policies or whatever," Gabbard argued. "And we can have those conversations with each other, and still love and care for each other in a very deep and meaningful way.”

    “I don’t want to be friends with someone I agree with all the time," McCain said, before telling Gabbard that her "perspective on the world has illuminated so many things for me.”

    The former co-host of "The View" then began to segue into a conversation about the alleged "stereotypes" she and Gabbard have been respectively branded with over the past several years; McCain stated that she has been dubbed a "warmonger," while Gabbard has been called a "Russian asset," a nickname that derives from former presidential candidate and first lady Hillary Clinton in 2019 claiming that the Kremlin was "grooming" Gabbard to be a third-party candidate.

    “The thing I didn’t realize when I was younger is this s**t comes at a cost. If you want to be in this ring and do the kind of things that we do, you’re going to lose friends and people are going to be really cruel to you in a way that they are not to people like AOC," McCain said, referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. "Women like that get passes, and women like you and I are going to be raked over the coals forever.”

    McCain then delved into the crux of the episode's subject matter — Gabbard's struggles with starting a family. Gabbard articulated her decision to enlist in the U.S. military following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. "It changed everything for so many people," she said. "It certainly changed everything for me. I hadn't ever thought about joining the military before that. It hadn't ever crossed my mind."

    Gabbard's stint in the service would ultimately place an inordinate amount of strain on her first marriage, however, as she spent 18 months away from home with 12 of those months in Iraq; in 2006, she divorced her first husband, Eduardo Tamayo.

    McCain then contextualized the depth of her friendship with Gabbard even further, observing how the former Democratic representative and her current husband — Abraham Williams, whom she married in 2015 — are the godparents to her first daughter. McCain also acknowledged that she had suffered two miscarriages, a fact that she and Gabbard had been able to bond over.

    Gabbard, who was in her "mid to late 30s" at the time she married her second husband, spoke about the complicated medical rhetoric around trying to conceive a child past a certain age. “The doctor says, ‘well if you get pregnant it’s a geriatric pregnancy’ — how is that word allowed to be used?" she asked. "In the same breath, they tell you, ‘Don’t stress out, just relax.’”

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    Between the logistical issues of traveling back and forth from Hawaii to Washington, D.C., and the challenges presented by natural conception, Gabbard and Williams elected to move forward with in vitro fertilization (IVF) in D.C, a "rollercoaster" process which she called a “very difficult experience, no matter what happens," citing the litany of administered injections and hormonal supplements that are required.

    “I don’t understand why it works for some people and not for others," McCain said to Gabbard, as the pair became emotional while discussing the latter's diagnosis of unexplained infertility.

    “A lot of women go through this but feel a sense of shame about it when there really shouldn’t be, and so I’m glad that we’re having this conversation," Gabbard said. “There aren’t always explanations. For me, the doctor was like, ‘Well, you are one of the women who has a diagnosis of unexplained infertility.’ Which is hard to hear because at least if something is diagnosed you think, ‘Maybe I think I can do something about this.’ But the whole unexplained infertility thing was difficult.”

    Instead, Gabbard said, the whole ordeal was simply "heartbreak over and over again.”

    Once Gabbard decided to enter the 2020 presidential campaign — a process that began for her as early as 2018 — she was forced to put her dreams of motherhood on pause yet again. “Our hopes to start our own family — we have to put those aside because of how we feel so strongly about the sense of duty that we have to serve our country and to try to make that positive impact," she said. “It comes at a cost.”

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