Caitlyn Jenner, In Sean Hannity Interview, Offers Praise For Donald Trump As A “Disrupter,” Says Joe Biden “Scares Me”

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·7 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

UPDATE, 8 PM PT: Caitlyn Jenner’s choice of Sean Hannity to make her national debut as a gubernatorial candidate was a bit incongruous to the state itself.

After all, California is bluer than it was than in 2003, the year of the last recall, when that year’s best known celebrity candidate, Arnold Schwarzenegger, announced on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno — great for publicity, benign in its partisanship.

But in doing Hannity, Jenner signaled that she wanted to reach his rightward, pro-Donald Trump audience, perhaps to shore up support against Republican rivals. Yet she also risks playing right into Gov. Gavin Newsom’s strategy, which has been to brand the recall as a product of the pro-Donald Trump far right.

Earlier in the day, Jenner had unveiled a list of middle-of-the-road policy solutions on her website, including taxes, regulation and Covid-19 closures, steering clear of some of the cultural wedge issues that have galvanized much of the right. In the hour long sit down, there were moments when Hannity tried to steer her toward some of his favorite talking points, like attacks on sanctuary cities and calls to “defund the police.” He at one point promised to get her take on big tech censorship, but they apparently never got to those questions.

Jenner agreed with Hannity at some moments — but generally tried to avoid specifics. She also showed that she was a bit green to elective politics. “I am pro-illegal immigration,” she said, before Hannity corrected her, noting that she meant “pro-legal immigration.”

“You’ve got my back, Sean,” she said.

On the signature issue of the recall race — the Covid-19 pandemic — Hannity asked her what she would have done differently than California Governor Gavin Newsom. She said that Newsom had treated the shutdowns and reopening as a “political game” and should have done a “better job,” yet offered few specifics. She compared the reopening of Walt Disney World in Florida to the recent reopening of Disneyland.

“We’re talking nine months of shutting Disneyland down, when it didn’t have to be shutdown,” she said.

There were complaints about the state’s high taxes, but Hannity and Jenner never really discussed whether she plans to lower rates, or how she would do it.

Hannity asked her about an issue that already has generated some pushback for her campaign, when she told TMZ about that biological boys should not be allowed to compete in girls sports. To Hannity, she said, “There’s more to it than that, and I think in the future I will explain more of that.”

Newsom’s strategy so far has been to tag the recall as the product of the Trump right, and his campaign was quick to point out that some of the former president’s campaign staffers are now working for Jenner. Before the Hannity interview, Newsom’s campaign sent out a fundraising email in which they noted that Jenner was “going on Trump’s favorite television station for an event with Trump’s favorite host.” In other words, the strategy is to make the recall about Trump, unpopular in California, and -not Newsom.

Jenner didn’t exactly distance herself from the former president. When Hannity asked her about her feelings about him, she said, “What I liked about Donald Trump is he was a disruptor, you know,” she said. “He came in and shook the system up, OK. A lot of people didn’t like that in Washington, D.C., but he came in and shook the system up. I think he did some things that I agree with, some things I didn’t agree with on trans issues, LGBT issues. I was more hopeful at the beginning. And – but there were some good things he did.

Jenner, though, had no such mixed feelings about Biden.

“I don’t think I’ve agreed with anything,” she said. “I don’t think, since he’s been in there, he has done anything for the American worker, maybe other ones. ..It is a 180 degree turn in our country, going the other direction, and it scares me.”

Hannity did help lay out a rationale for the recall itself, giving a grim portrait of the state of the state, something that seemed to startle even Jenner. “After that opening, I’m out of here,” Jenner said. “I’m moving on. That was the scariest thing I have ever heard.”

At one point, Jenner described how friends are leaving the state, relaying the story of someone she encountered at her hangar (Jenner is a pilot). “He was packing up his hangar and I said, ‘Where are you going?’ And he says, ‘I’m moving to Sedona, Arizona. I can’t take it here anymore. I can’t walk down the street and see the homeless.”

More from Deadline

She added, “I don’t want to leave. OK? Either I stay and fight, or I get out of here.”

The comment drew some ridicule, including from Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), who wrote on Twitter, “Unlike you, Dems are focused on the 99% of people who don’t own planes or hangars.”

Jenner’s best moments were in explaining her own biography, and in particular when she explained the process by which she came to terms with her gender and the decision to come out.

“This question was always in my heart. And sitting – I sat down with my pastor, and you know what? I thought, is there a reason for this? Am I doing the right thing? Do I need to come out and make a difference in probably the most marginalized community in the world?

“After long thought, I said, you know what, at this point in my life, my kids are raised, everybody’s fine. Maybe it’s time I take care of myself.”

PREVIOUSLY: In her first national TV interview since declaring her candidacy in the expected California gubernatorial recall, Caitlyn Jenner weighed in on immigration, telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity that she is “all for the wall.”

“I am all for the wall, I would secure the wall,” she said. “We can’t have a state, we can’t have a country without a secure wall. You have two questions here,” Jenner said, per excerpts released by the network. “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, OK? We are a compassionate state. Some help, I mean, some people we’re going to send back, OK? No question about that. But I have met some of the greatest immigrants into our country.”

Jenner released a list of policy points on her website Wednesday, and while it included such issues as the Covid-19 response, regulation and taxes, it did not include immigration.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his supporters have characterized the recall effort as an effort led by allies of Trump. In fact, Newsom’s campaign blasted out a fundraising email on Wednesday that noted that Jenner was “going on Trump’s favorite television station for an event with Trump’s favorite host.” Jenner’s decision to do an interview Hannity, though, suggests a desire to shore up support on the right. She faces Republican rivals including John Cox, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former congressman Doug Ose.

Hannity also asked her about being a transgender role model, telling Hannity that for me as a transwoman, I think role models are extremely important for young people. 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.”

Hannity then replied, But some are mad at you.”

Jenner replied: That’s that, I don’t care. I move on.”

The interview, taped in Malibu, will air at 9 PM ET.

Jenner also told Hannity that she is running for governor because she wants “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. I need to find solutions to be able to turn this state around. I absolutely love this state. I’m a fighter. Always have been.”

Related Deadline Video:

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting