The ABC talk show kicked off its 22nd season premiere Tuesday with new co-host Abby Huntsman, a “Fox & Friends Weekend” alum and close friend of McCain’s. As Huntsman made her debut, the show hosts took a moment to honor Meghan and her late dad.
The former Arizona senator died Aug. 25 after a battle with rare form of brain cancer. He was 81 years old.
“Meghan is like a sister to me and this was the hardest thing she has ever been through,” Huntsman said. “Her dad was her best friend, her dad was everything. I was so proud of her. It was like her dad had passed the torch to her. She was now speaking for the family.”
Huntsman lauded John McCain’s service to the country, saying the late war hero exhibited a “commitment to service that I think we have such an aching for, right now, in this country.”
“He was willing to give his life for this country,” she added. “And that is a love for this country that very few people have.”
Speaking of Meghan’s powerful eulogy at her father’s funeral, co-host Sunny Hostin noted the raucous applause she received from attendees.
“It was just so moving to see our friend and our colleague rise to that occasion,” Hostin said. “We all know she’s devastated by the passing of her father … but my God, she showed everyone how tough she is.”
Fellow host Whoopi Goldberg, who was unable to make the funeral because of mechanical issues with her plane, said she’s still kicking herself for missing the service.
“It was one of the biggest devastations,” she said. “John and I, as crazy as this sounds, we were friends. We’ve been friends since Meghan was little. The plane had some issues and it was going to take them two hours to fix it. I hate to fly but I was willing to fly because I needed to get there. So I’m so crazed that I missed it.”
The show then cut to a touching montage of McCain and her father, which she later shared with fans on Twitter.
Watch more in the clip below.