Meghan McCain has somehow found a way to link the nation’s leading infectious disease expert to America’s first family of reality TV. On this morning’s episode of The View, the conservative co-host accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of feeding into his popularity and seeking out his celebrity status like a Kardashian would in the past year.

During a conversation about Dr. Fauci’s recently released work emails, McCain clashed with co-host Sara Haines, who claimed his email exchanges proved the doctor “wasn’t comfortable with the celebrity part” of his job and the “people who were trying to make it ‘Fauci Fever.’”

Following Haines’ comments, McCain hit back with a complete rebuttal, claiming Dr. Fauci was perfectly happy to be the face of the U.S. fight against Covid. “I don’t think that people who are uncomfortable with celebrity and don’t want to be celebrities pose on the cover of InStyle Magazine and fashion spreads and on the cover of People Magazine,” she said, referring to Dr. Fauci’s December People cover as one of the magazine’s 2020 People of the Year, plus his July InStyle digital cover and feature from last year.

Dr. Fauci previously shot down any notion of fame in his interview with People. While he admitted his newfound status as a national figure is “surrealistic” and “amusing,” he told the magazine, “You can’t take that stuff seriously and start to think you’re a celebrity.” He added, “When you start to think that, then you get into trouble. I’m a physician. I’m a scientist. And I’m a public health official.”

In the work emails published by Buzzfeed News and The Washington Post, Dr. Fauci echoed the same sentiment. In response to an article with the headline “Fauci socks, Fauci doughnuts, Fauci fan art: The coronavirus expert attracts a cult following,” he replied, “Truly surrealistic. Hopefully, this all stops soon.” He added, “It is not at all pleasant, that is for sure.”

Still, McCain isn’t convinced. “I’m sorry, but if he just wanted to be a scientist part of the criticism of him going forward is that he clearly wanted to be a Kardashian as well,” she told her View co-hosts before admitting, “I have a much different take on Dr. Fauci. It’s been one of the more controversial things of the past year I’ve done on this show.” 

The View airs weekdays at 11/10c on ABC. Watch the full segment on Dr. Fauci’s emails in the video above.

Where to watch The View