The story behind Donald Trump Jr.’s controversial appearance on The View

Donald Trump Jr. — eldest son of former President Donald Trump — is a controversial figure both online and in real life. While he was a key figure in his father’s 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, he was also heavily criticized for spreading numerous unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, nepotism and publicizing his numerous (sometimes illegal) hunting trips over the years. He was also one of the biggest figures in trying to reverse his father’s loss in the 2020 election, even advocating “all-out war” after the results were originally tallied.

Of course, when Trump Jr. appeared on ABC’s The View alongside his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle in 2019, it became very controversial — especially given co-host Meghan McCain’s cynical views of his father, largely attributed to Trump’s attacks on her own father are. John McCain during the 2016 campaign. While Guilfoyle and Trump Jr.’s performance certainly made headlines for his drama, it turns out there’s an even more dramatic story about what was going on behind the scenes.

Whoopi Goldberg yelled at The View audience during Donald Trump Jr.’s performance

Though “The View” is known for its diverse perspectives on its panels, presenters have been largely anti-Trump since the real estate mogul announced his first presidential bid in 2015. However, Donald Trump Jr.’s 2019 appearance on the show – which took place against the backdrop of his father’s first impeachment – was marked by both supporters and opponents in the audience, as both cheers and boos erupted in response to several of Trump’s utterances could be heard throughout the episode.

However, during a commercial break, it became clear that lead host Whoopi Goldberg disliked the booing and even admonished the audience to taunt Trump and his girlfriend. Generally quite liberal, Goldberg’s motivations were technical rather than ideological. “The booing is killing us” she told the audience, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “It messes up all the mics. You can make faces and stuff. All we hear is booing.”

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This isn’t the only time Goldberg has berated audiences for her boos, which seem all but forbidden in the studio. She similarly chided audiences in early 2022 when they booed former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, and several viewers claimed in August 2022 that Goldberg didn’t give the audience a chance to boo her new conservative permanent co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin at her first introduction to the panel.

The View co-hosts brought their beef to the audience

Though Donald Trump Jr.’s nearly half-hour interview with the ladies of The View was controversial and heated at points, the political divisions within the audience were perhaps even more pronounced. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the front rows of the audience that day were largely pro-Trump, with a pro-Trump viewer even asking, “Who killed Epstein?” during a commercial break, likely implying that one of the Clintons was the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein killed in prison, a conspiracy theory Donald Trump has touted. Apparently, co-host Meghan McCain once addressed this viewer and said, “If you can let me speak, I’d be grateful.”

After the audience continued to boo, despite Whoopi Goldberg beating them up for it, the show’s warm-up comedian yelled during a subsequent commercial break, “No booing, no screaming. No booing, everyone.”

However, not all viewers were for Trump. When Goldberg announced that the segment would end with Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, one viewer exclaimed, “Praise the Lord!” Another viewer — though she describes herself as a “non-Trump person” — told The Hollywood Reporter, that she was glad the eldest Trump child made an appearance on the show, mostly because she enjoyed watching him squirm. “I think it’s good,” she said. “Let him be uncomfortable.” That sentiment is broadly consistent with the majority of the show’s base, which is overwhelmingly Democratic, according to The New York Times.