"The View" co-host Joy Behar said Thursday that her comment from earlier this week comparing Mike Pence's Christian faith to "mental illness" was just a joke, after the vice president publicly took offense to it.
Some of the ABC show's co-hosts, including Behar, mocked Pence on Tuesday for the way former White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman described his "scary" religion. Behar said hearing the voice of Jesus qualified as "mental illness."
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"Like I said before, it's one thing to talk to Jesus. It's another thing when Jesus talks to you," Behar said Tuesday. "That's called mental illness, if I'm not correct. Hearing voices."
Pence criticized "The View" and ABC on Wednesday for what he called religious intolerance.
"To have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong," Pence said. "And it's an insult not to me, but to the vast majority of the American people who, like me, cherish their faith."
Behar said Thursday that the show was not guilty of religious intolerance, defending her comment as a joke.
"I don't mean to offend people, but apparently I keep doing it," Behar said with a laugh. "It was a joke. Comedians are in danger these days."
Behar added that she is a Christian and gives money to her church.
Co-host Whoopi Goldberg defended "The View" as a show that has featured a range of conversations and jokes about religion and other topics. She said Pence calling the show "intolerant" is out of bounds, but co-host Meghan McCain jumped in to offer criticism of what they said about Pence.
"We're living in incredibly divisive times right now; we all know that," McCain said. "As a Republican, I feel like sometimes liberals say, ‘We need to be tolerant of everyone, we need to be tolerant of everyone—except pro-lifers, except Trump supporters, except gun owners, except for everyone in the red in the middle of the country—'"
Goldberg cut her off to say that McCain should not be so divisive herself by talking about what liberals believe.
"I'm going to stop you because that's not actually true," Goldberg told McCain. "We don't want to talk about liberals and what they're doing or whatever, because I'm trying to get out of this because this is what they've asked me to do."
McCain concluded by saying the show should respect all kinds of people. Behar added that they respect the freedom of speech, too, and Sunny Hostin said her pro-life and Catholic views have "always" been respected by the co-hosts.