Caitlyn Jenner tells Fox News she is ‘outsider’ in California governor race

Jenner, who has no experience in elected office, sought to appeal to Trump Republicans in interview with Sean Hannity

In her first major interview as a candidate for California governor, Caitlyn Jenner sought to appeal to Trump Republicans – telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity she’s an “outsider” looking to “disrupt” politics as usual.

The former Olympian and reality TV star sat down with Hannity at her private airplane hangar in Malibu, a wealthy, celebrity enclave west of Los Angeles, to introduce herself as a candidate to replace Democrat Gavin Newsom in the forthcoming recall election.

“I am an outsider,” she told Hannity, adding that she wants to surround herself “with some of the smartest people out there” to help her develop her platform. “I’m in a race for solutions. I need to find solutions to be able to turn this state around,” she said.

Jenner, who has no prior experience in elected office, has seen her campaign get off to a stumbling start. The news release touting her first campaign video initially misspelled her name. And this week, the former Olympic athlete, who has presented herself as a champion for trans rights, said she opposes transgender girls competing in girls’ sports.

“For me as a trans woman, I think role models are extremely important for young people,” Jenner said on Wednesday. “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.”

“But some are mad at you,” Hannity said.

“That’s that, I don’t care. I move on,” she said.

In an interview with TMZ this week, she said: “I oppose biological boys who are trans from competing in girls’ sports in school. It just isn’t fair. We have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.”

Sean Hannity interviews Caitlyn Jenner.
Sean Hannity interviews Caitlyn Jenner. Photograph: Fox News Channel/Reuters

The comments, which came as conservative lawmakers across the country advanced legislation banning trans children from sports teams and limiting their access to gender-affirming healthcare, have sparked anger and dismay among LGBTQ + advocacy groups and children’s welfare groups. They have also added fuel to criticisms that Jenner is disingenuous. Her campaign ad features footage of her playing in a women’s golf tournament.

“Make no mistake: we can’t wait to elect a trans governor of California,” tweeted Equality California, an advocacy group. “But Caitlyn Jenner spent years telling the LGBTQ+ community to trust Donald Trump. We saw how that turned out. Now she wants us to trust her?”

Jenner supported Trump in 2016, but later distanced herself from him over his administration’s record on trans rights. Her current gubernatorial bid is bolstered by former Trump campaign figures.

On Tuesday, Jenner released her first campaign ad, in which she called herself a “compassionate disruptor”.

“California, it’s time to reopen our schools, reopen our businesses, reopen the golden gates,” Jenner narrates, over folksy images of farms, diners and embracing families. “So I don’t care if you’re a Republican, Democrat, I’m running to be governor for all Californians. To reclaim our true identity, to bring back the gold to the Golden State,” she said.

But Jenner has had trouble pinning down her political identity, as she strives to woo Trump Republicans and moderate voters in a heavily left-leaning state. “I am all for the wall, I would secure the wall,” Jenner told Hannity. “We can’t have a state, we can’t have a country without a secure wall.”

However, she hesitated as Hannity pushed her on whether she opposed social support for undocumented immigrants: “We are a compassionate state … Some people we’re going to send back OK, no question about that. But I have met some of the greatest immigrants [in] our country.”

Later, Hannity corrected her when she said she’s pro- “illegal immigration”. “You’re pro legal immigration” he corrected.

“Sorry, did I miss the legal part?,” she said. “Thanks for catching me.”

Jenner will have to win over Trump-aligned Republicans, who launched the recall effort against Newsom. The effort gained steam this winter, as California struggled through its most deadly phase of the pandemic.

“For a candidate like Caitlyn Jenner to win, it has to be like a layered cake. The bottom layer has to be Trump supporters,” Bill Whalen, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a speechwriter for the former Republican governor Pete Wilson, told the Associated Press. “Where do you go to get Trump supporters? Simple. Sean Hannity,” Whalen said.

In a state that Trump lost by 30 points in the 2020 election, Jenner – like any other Republican seeking to challenge Newsom – would also have to win over moderates and independents in order to win.

Jenner and Hannity reviewed common Republican talking points – lamenting pandemic-time business shutdowns, worrying over water restrictions for farmers amid drought, and trash-talking the much-maligned endangered Delta Smelt.

Jenner is the most prominent celebrity to enter the recall race. Other Republican challengers include John Cox, a businessman who lost to Newsom by 24 points during the last gubernatorial election and who is currently hitting the campaign trail with a domesticated Kodiak bear. Kevin Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego and Doug Ose, a former US representative, are also in the running.

No Democrats are currently challenging Newsom, who still retains broad support. Recent polling from the Public Policy Institute of California found that 56% of likely voters oppose recalling the governor, and 5% are unsure. Only 40% would vote to remove the governor from office.


Maanvi Singh

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Caitlyn Jenner reportedly considering run for California governor
Former Trump aides advising TV star and Olympic champion for potential run against Gavin Newsom in possible recall election

Maanvi Singh

08, Apr, 2021 @12:44 AM

Article image
Caitlyn Jenner announces plan to run for governor of California
Reality TV star seeks to oust Democrat Gavin Newsom in recall election where there are already three other Republican contenders

Maanvi Singh in San Francisco

23, Apr, 2021 @2:19 PM

Article image
Is Caitlyn Jenner serious – or is her bid for California governor a grubby PR stunt? | Arwa Mahdawi
The reality star’s run seems completely depressing – especially aligned with a party that wants to erode LGBTQ rights

Arwa Mahdawi

24, Jul, 2021 @1:00 PM

Article image
Caitlyn Jenner tells Joy Behar ‘don’t sweat it’ over misgendering
Reality TV star and trans activist says ‘I’m not about cancel culture’ after View co-host corrects mistake

Edward Helmore and agencies

24, Apr, 2021 @5:07 PM

Article image
California’s governor recall election is heating up. Here’s what you need to know
With mere weeks to go, Gavin Newsom and his opponents appeal to voters across America’s most populous state

Maanvi Singh

16, Aug, 2021 @10:00 AM

Article image
Caitlyn Jenner’s bid to be California’s next Governator is falling flat
She hopes to repeat Schwarzenegger’s success as a celebrity running to replace the governor. Polls suggest it’s not working

Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles

13, May, 2021 @5:00 AM

Article image
California’s recall election: the frontrunners in a field of 46 candidates
For only the second time in the state’s history, voters will decide if Gavin Newsom should keep his job

Maanvi Singh

12, Sep, 2021 @10:00 AM

Article image
California’s recall election: how does it work – and will Gavin Newsom survive?
The state is poised to hold a gubernatorial recall vote for only the second time in history

Maanvi Singh

12, May, 2021 @10:00 AM

Article image
‘All you need is the filing fee and a dream’: who are Gavin Newsom’s recall challengers?
The California governor is facing a motley mix of political opponents, from Caitlyn Jenner to Republican John Cox, a businessman who lost by 24 points

Maanvi Singh

20, Apr, 2021 @12:40 PM

Article image
California governor announces landmark $15 minimum wage deal
In a victory for the ‘Fight for $15’ campaign the proposed deal would give the state the highest minimum wage in the world, but the plan is not without critics

Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco

28, Mar, 2016 @8:08 PM