Caitlyn Jenner serves platitudes to Fox News' Sean Hannity in interview about California governor run

·4 min read

Caitlyn Jenner's hourlong interview Wednesday with Fox News host Sean Hannity was predictable: A California gubernatorial candidate whose main credential for running is a famous name talking to a conservative host who favors ousting a Democratic governor while enjoying an opportunity to bash liberal California.

The host opened "Hannity" by calling the nation's most populous state "the United Socialist States of California."

Jenner, a Republican trans woman known for winning the Olympic decathlon championship and being a fixture in the Kardashian reality TV empire, is an early candidate in an expected California gubernatorial recall election, a free-for-all in which voters will decide whether to oust Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and, if they do, pick a new state leader from a field open pretty much to all comers.

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Movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger triumphed in the 2003 recall election in which 135 candidates qualified to run, including porn star Mary Carey and former child star Gary Coleman. Jenner's TV career, which include more than 150 episodes of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and a recent appearance as Phoenix on "The Masked Singer," did not come up in the conversation.

In Wednesday's interview, Jenner offered little but warmed-over platitudes – "common sense," "looking for solutions," "surround myself with the smartest people" – with even the solicitous Hannity pushing a bit to hear about detailed plans. Jenner called herself a "compassionate disrupter" in a campaign commercial unveiled during the show but already seemed to be shifting to "thoughtful disrupter" during the ensuing interview.

Recall candidacy: 'I'm in': Caitlyn Jenner announces bid for California governor

The longtime Republican and former Olympic athlete announced her plans to run for governor of California.
The longtime Republican and former Olympic athlete announced her plans to run for governor of California.

Most of Hannity's question topics would be familiar to regular Fox viewers – illegal immigration, policing, COVID-19 lockdowns – but Jenner offered little more than vaguely pro-conservative responses, even answering a question about sanctuary cities by offering sanctuary to small businesses. Jenner said she agreed with former President Trump on some matters but not others, including transgender and LGBTQ issues, but that she hasn’t agreed with President Biden on anything.

Jenner's other main selling point was her biography, and she was most heartfelt talking about her experience as a trans woman and how she thought that would help her as governor.

"Trans issues people struggle with big time. Our suicide rate is nine times higher than the general public," she said. "And for me to be a role model to them, to be out there, I am running for governor of the state of California. Who would have ever thunk that? We've never even had a woman governor."

More: Caitlyn Jenner spells out priorities for California governor, but announcement misspells name

Fox News host Sean Hannity has emerged as an unexpected critic of the Minneapolis police for their actions in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd.
Fox News host Sean Hannity has emerged as an unexpected critic of the Minneapolis police for their actions in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd.

She continued: "I want to be a role model and to be a leader. And I think the most important thing as a leader that you can do is your compassion, your honesty, and I think that sometimes is very lacking in politics. So, I want to be an example to all people, not just trans people."

Jenner was forgiving when Hannity raised the issue of Joy Behar misgendering her, for which "The View" co-host has apologized. Jenner said her mother has misgendered her, too, before asking Hannity, in an unusual move in a political interview, to wish the soon-to-be 95-year-old "Hannity" fan an early happy birthday. He did.

However, Jenner was vague when Hannity asked about her comment last week opposing "biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school," a statement that stirred controversy.

"I don't know why. To be honest with you, I don’t know why they keep asking that. What do you think, Sean? I don’t know. Why do they keep asking me that question?" she said.

"Great question," he replied.

"It is a good question, but we can deal with that. There’s more problems here in the state of California than that now," she said, veering away from the initial inquiry.

New York-based Hannity, who told Jenner he supports the recall effort, seemed primed for a contest that puts a sitting Democratic governor in peril and promised much more coverage to come.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Caitlyn Jenner discusses California governor run with Sean Hannity

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