San Francisco Chronicle

Jenner leans far right in Fox TV appearance

- By Dustin Gardiner Dustin Gardiner is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: dustin.gardiner@sfchronicl­e.com Twitter: @dustingard­iner

SACRAMENTO — Caitlyn Jenner staked out a host of conservati­ve stances and spoke highly of former President Donald Trump during an interview Wednesday, her first big TV appearance since announcing she will run for California governor.

Jenner told Fox News host Sean Hannity, before a crowd of supporters in Southern California, that she favors building a wall on the U.S.Mexico border.

She also vowed to repeal “sanctuary state” laws that impede cooperatio­n with federal immigratio­n authoritie­s.

“I am all for the wall. I would secure the wall,” Jenner said. “We can’t have a state, we can’t have a country without a secure wall.”

The 71yearold former Olympic gold medalist and reality TV star has sought to cast herself as a “compassion­ate disrupter” since announcing last month that she is running for governor in a recall election seeking to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, later this year.

Jenner played on that theme Wednesday, though she changed it up, saying she would be a “thoughtful disrupter” who would surround herself “with some of the smartest people out there” to solve the state’s problems.

“I need to find solutions to be able to turn this state around,” she said. “I absolutely love this state. I’m a fighter. Always have been. I come from a long line of fighters.”

Jenner, a lifelong Republican, said she is a fiscal conservati­ve who has always leaned more progressiv­e on social issues. She took several hardline stances Wednesday that typically hold sway with GOP voters.

The transgende­r former athlete defended her stance, reported by TMZ this week, that transgende­r girls should be banned from participat­ing in girls’ competitiv­e sports as “a question of fairness.”

“I stick with my statements that I made,” Jenner said. “We have to make sure that the integrity of girls’ sports is there.”

She also likened herself to Trump, though she said she disagreed with him on some issues affecting transgende­r and LGBTQ people. Jenner said what she “liked about Donald Trump was that he was a disrupter” who “shook the system.”

Jenner is working with Trump’s former campaign manager, and Newsom’s campaign said her appearance on Fox speaks to how her campaign has been bolstered by Trump’s political allies.

“This is a huge event for the farright,” Newsom’s campaign said in a fundraisin­g email sent to supporters hours earlier. “It will introduce this recall attempt to people across the country.”

Newsom’s critics collected more than enough signatures to put a recall on the ballot. If the recall officially qualifies, as both sides expect it to, an election would likely be held in November.

Jenner also criticized Newsom’s pandemic health orders, saying, “He’s used it as a political tool in this state, to shut it down, control people.” She implied that Newsom’s announceme­nt that the state would mostly reopen on June 15 was in response to reports that she would join the race.

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