Meghan McCain will leave “The View” at the end of July, the co-host said on Thursday at the beginning of the popular daytime show.
“This was not an easy decision,” she said of her departure, noting that the coronavirus pandemic had changed her priorities.
Ms. McCain, the show’s sole conservative voice, said she had discovered she was pregnant with her daughter as the country was going into lockdown last year and quickly left New York, where the show is taped, for Washington.
“I just have this really wonderful life here that, ultimately, I felt like I didn’t want to leave,” she said of Washington.
The daughter of John McCain, the longtime Republican senator who died in 2018, and Cindy McCain, Ms. McCain called her nearly four years on the show “one of the hands-down greatest, most exhilarating, wonderful privileges of my entire life.”
Her tenure on “The View,” a production of ABC News started by the television journalist Barbara Walters, included a number of contentious exchanges with the show’s liberal co-hosts, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin (Sara Haines, an ABC News correspondent, rounded out the hosting duties). The women acknowledged the tension on Thursday’s episode, with Ms. Behar calling Ms. McCain a “formidable opponent” and “no snowflake.”
“You and I have had our disagreements, we’ve had our fights, but we’ve also had some drinking moments, which were rather fun and interesting,” said Ms. Behar, whose tetchy relationship with Ms. McCain was spoofed on “Saturday Night Live.” “We take a lot of hits on this show and we stood by our points of view, and you have done that brilliantly for four years.”
Among the most memorable exchanges the self-described “sacrificial Republican” had on the show: a moving conversation with Joe Biden in 2017 about their families’ experiences with brain cancer, chastising Ms. Behar for shifting the conversation to President Donald J. Trump during a tribute to President George H.W. Bush after his death in 2018 and accusing Ms. Goldberg in May of cutting her off partway through her remarks stemming from a discussion of incidents of anti-Semitism and related statements made by Representatives Ilhan Omar and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Ms. McCain rejoined “The View” on Jan. 4, after having extended her maternity leave from six weeks to three months while recovering from postpartum pre-eclampsia. On her return, she called on-air for mandatory paid family leave.
In a statement, ABC News thanked her for her “passion and unique voice” and said that she recently told the network that she wanted to depart.
Ms. McCain noted on Thursday that her father had encouraged her to become a panelist on the show, despite her initial misgivings. She signed on in 2017, following a 10-month hosting role on the Fox News daytime talk show “Outnumbered.”
“Your dad was very smart,” Ms. Goldberg, a friend of the senator, said in reply.
Ms. McCain described her co-hosts as “strong, brilliant, intelligent and credible broadcasters.”
“If five men were doing what we do every day,” she added, “I really do believe that we’d probably have a Pulitzer Prize at this point.”