Television star Caitlyn Jenner praised former President Trump‘s border wall Wednesday and vowed to “turn this state around” while brushing off leftist critics stunned that the nation’s first serious transgender gubernatorial contender is a Republican.
In a wide-ranging interview with Fox host Sean Hannity, Ms. Jenner said she was in a “race for solutions” to tackle California’s myriad challenges, describing herself as a “compassionate disruptor” who’s conservative on economic issues and liberal on social issues.
“I want to take that same fight, that same spirit, go to Sacramento, surround myself with some of the smartest people out there — I am an outsider, I understand that — smartest people out there, because now I’m in a race for solutions,” said Ms. Jenner. “I need to find solutions to be able to turn this state around. I absolutely love this state. I’m a fighter.”
Ms. Jenner, 71, is one of several prominent Republicans running to replace California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, if he is recalled in a still-unscheduled special election.
She blasted the “hypocrisy that is going on right now,” citing Mr. Newsom’s November dinner at the exclusive French Laundry restaurant despite pandemic restrictions banning indoor dining. He has apologized for the incident.
“It’s the hypocrisy of what’s going on. Yes, it is a dynasty, I guess you could say, in Sacramento. They’ve really been in charge for the last 40 years,” she said.
She said she was “100% behind our police force,” and would be “very tough on rioting” while championing Mr. Trump‘s border wall, which was nearly completed when President Biden halted construction.
“I am all for the wall, I would secure the wall. We can’t have a state, we can’t have a country, without a secure wall,” said Ms. Jenner. “You have two questions here. One is stopping people from coming in illegally into the state. And then the second question is, what do we do with the people that are here?”
She praised Mr. Trump as a “disruptor — he came in and shook the system up,” adding that she agreed with some policies and disagreed with others.
Since Mr. Biden took office, however, “it is a 180-degree turn in our country going the other direction, and it scares me.”
Ms. Jenner said she wanted to see California become “a sanctuary state for small businesses,” and praised the state’s compassion while acknowledging that “some people we’re going to send back, okay, no question about that.”
Ms. Jenner became an international celebrity by winning the 1976 Olympic decathlon as Bruce Jenner, then married Kris Kardashian of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” fame before transitioning in 2015 from male to female.
She tackled the transgender issue by citing the need for role models.
“But for me as a trans woman, I think role models are extremely important for young people,” Ms. Jenner said. “Trans issues, people struggle with big time. Our suicide rate is nine times higher than the general public. And for me to be a role model, for them, to be out there. I am running for governor of the state of California, who would ever thunk that? We’ve never even had a woman governor.”
Progressives, including LGBTQ advocates, have blasted her candidacy, citing her Trump support and accusing her of being “anti-trans” after she came out against biological males competing in girls’ sports.
LGBTQ activist Charlotte Clymer has called her “a hateful person” and “the Phyllis Schlafly of the trans community,” but Ms. Jenner shrugged off such criticism.
“I move on,” said Ms. Jenner. “I want to be a role model and be a leader, and I think the most important thing as a leader that you can do is your compassion, your honesty, and I think that sometimes is very lacking in politics.”
She added, “I want to be an example to all people, not just trans people.”