Caitlyn Jenner, a Republican whose campaign for California governor has elicited an angry reaction from some liberals, said Wednesday that “I move on” when it comes to his critics.
His comment came during a one-on-one interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, some of his first public words since announcing his candidacy for the expected recall election that could remove Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
In their wide-ranging chat, Jenner staked out positions on issues from immigration to forest management.
He said he would reopen the state immediately after more than a year of pandemic restrictions, opposed efforts to defund police departments and suggested that funds for the state’s troubled high-speed rail project should be channeled into desalination plants to provide more water in the drought-prone state.
While discussing his role as a high-profile transgender figure, Jenner lamented the high suicide rate among transgender people and added, “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.
“I move on,” Jenner replied.
Last weekend, Jenner sparked an outcry after he told TMZ that he opposes boys competing in girls’ school sports, calling it “a question of fairness.”
He hinted he would have more to say on the issue.
“I just said biological boys in sports. There’s more to it than that, and I think in the future I will explain more of that,” he added.
JENNER on HANNITY: ‘I Love This Country, I’ve Watched California Crumble Before My Eyes’ https://t.co/0KLs1oB9pM
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 6, 2021
During the interview, which took place at Jenner’s private airplane hangar near Malibu, California, he also endorsed the border wall that was a signature project of former President Donald Trump.
“We can’t have a state, we can’t have a country without a secure wall,” Jenner said.
He also acknowledged that, as someone coming from outside government, he’d need advice from a brain trust of policy experts. In a Jenner administration, he said he would “surround myself with some of the smartest people out there.”
“I am an outsider,” Jenner said. “I understand that.”
The 71-year-old Jenner — who won the men’s Olympic decathlon in 1976 and decades later became a reality TV star and began identifying as a woman — announced his candidacy about two weeks ago in a written statement on Twitter.
Prior to the interview, he released a video and other materials on his website that provided a rough sketch of how he would manage the nation’s most populous state and the fifth-largest economy in the world.
Jenner calls himself a “compassionate disrupter.”
“I was thinking the other day, I think I’m more of a thoughtful disrupter,” he told Hannity. “I have common sense.”
When asked if he would eliminate so-called sanctuary status for illegal immigrants, his answer lacked specifics. Jenner said he would maintain a sanctuary state for small businesses to create jobs, but went on to indicate he would otherwise oppose it.
At another point, he talked about the value of immigration and told a story about a man who overstayed a visa.
“He is the nicest, greatest guy,” Jenner said. “I would do everything for him to stay here.”
Later, he said the state would work closely with federal immigration authorities to crack down on violations.
Jenner’s first TV appearance comes as candidates in the expected recall election are becoming more visible.
On Tuesday, Republican businessman John Cox appeared with a Kodiak bear to relaunch his campaign in Sacramento. Cox lost to Newsom in a 2018 landslide.
Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former Rep. Doug Ose, both Republicans, also are running.
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