Joel Greenberg, an associate of Gaetz, recently took a plea deal
The clash came in reaction to the news that Joel Greenberg, an associate of Mr Gaetz’s, has pleaded guilty to six federal charges including sex trafficking of a minor, and has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of a plea deal.
Mr Gaetz isn’t mentioned in the plea agreement, but Mr Greenberg’s cooperation may result in higher scrutiny for the Florida politician, who is reportedly the subject of an investigation by the Justice Department over whether he violated sex trafficking laws.
Mr Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and insisted he’s being falsely accused.
On Tuesday’s broadcast of The View, Ms Behar questioned the Republican party’s reaction to the allegations, stating: “The only sin you can commit in the Republican party these days is if you say that Biden won the election. Everything else is fine.”
Ms Behar referred to Representative Liz Cheney, who was recently removed from her House of Representatives leadership post due to her criticism of Donald Trump.
“She says they removed her from her committee positions. They’re not even removing [Gaetz] from his positions,” she said. “So what does that say about the family values party? Not much.”
Ms McCain, the daughter of late Republican senator John McCain, stressed her personal connections on Capitol Hill and insisted that “the Republican party and people on Capitol Hill are embarrassed by this”, adding: “I think I have a lot better sourcing on that than you do, Joy, no offence.”
In response, Ms Behar asked Ms McCain: “If it’s not the Republican party, should I call it the QAnon party? What should I call your party now, who defends people like Matt Gaetz and goes against Liz Cheney?”
The discussion escalated from here, with the co-hosts speaking over each other on several occasions until Ms McCain told Ms Behar: “You saying that the Republican party is trash – I don’t care. It’s not revelatory. Who cares? You say it every single day.”
Whoopi Goldberg eventually announced a break in the show. When the programme returned, host Sunny Hostin took over to read a legal note including Gaetz’s denial and stressing that he has not been charged with any crimes.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press