OAKLAND — Republican reality TV star and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner told Fox News that she is “all for the wall” — former President Trump’s controversial southern border effort — and called it crucial to control illegal immigration.
“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,” Jenner told host Sean Hannity in her first major television interview since she entered the California governor’s race nearly two weeks ago. The excerpt was released Wednesday ahead of an interview that will be broadcast at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.
But Jenner also appeared to support undocumented immigrants already living in the country.
“You have two questions here,” she said. “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? We are a compassionate country, okay? We are a compassionate state.”
“I mean, some people we’re going to send back, OK, no question about that,” she added. “But I have met some of the greatest immigrants into our country.”
The Republican’s sit-down with Hannity in her hometown of Malibu seemed clearly aimed to put her squarely in the sights of GOP base voters and donors nationwide in the run-up to the California recall election challenging Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
State elections officials last month announced that recall backers had secured at least 1.6 million valid signatures — more than enough to qualify the election likely to take place in the fall.
The drive largely relied on the state’s Republican voters, and organizers fed on anger at Newsom over his pandemic restrictions on businesses, churches and schools. They collected the bulk of their signatures during the state’s worst coronavirus spike from November to January, when the governor imposed a strict lockdown. Newsom also made a major misstep when he dined at one of the nation’s most exclusive restaurants for a lobbyist friend’s birthday party after suggesting that residents stay home and limit their interactions.
But California now has the nation’s lowest coronavirus rate and businesses are starting to open on a wider scale, including Disneyland and professional sports stadiums. Vaccines are widely available, and residents have begun meeting with friends and family again after being fully inoculated.
Still, most of California’s 6 million public schoolchildren don’t have access to five-days-a-week of classroom instruction, a sticking point for critics, including Jenner and other Republican challengers. They have said they would open schools full-time if elected governor. Newsom has pushed local districts and labor unions to do the same, but he has given them control over the decisions.
Jenner, according to excerpts of the interview, portrayed herself as “an outsider” to the political process and the antidote to Newsom, saying she is now “in a race for solutions” to solve the state’s most critical problems.
“I want to take that same fight, that same spirit, go to Sacramento, surround myself with some of the smartest people out there,” she said. “I am an outsider… now I’m in a race for solutions.”
Jenner also said it’s important to be a role model for young people who are transgender. “And for me to be a role model, for them, to be out there,” she said. “I am running for governor of the state of California, who would ever thunk that? We’ve never even had a woman governor.”