WASHINGTON — Transgender activist and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner said in an interview Wednesday night that she’s running for governor of California because her state is falling apart.
“This state has done so much for me over the years. But I’ve watched it crumble right in front of my eyes,” Jenner, a longtime Republican, said in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Speaking from what she said was her airplane hanger, she continued: “I knew it would not be easy. I knew it would be tough, but you know what? California’s worth fighting for, and that’s what I’m doing.”
Jenner, who announced last month that she is running to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, added that many of her friends are leaving the state, but that she wants to fight for solutions.
“The guy right across, he was packing up his hangar,” Jenner said. “And he says, ‘I’m moving to Sedona, Arizona. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t walk down the streets and see the homeless.’”
“I don’t want to leave. Either I stay and fight or I get out of here,” she added.
Jenner’s campaign comes as the effort to recall Newsom moves forward.
Asked about supporting so-called sanctuary cities, Jenner said that the U.S. has to spend money to have a “fair and equitable immigration system.”
Jenner said that she supports former President Donald Trump's efforts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying, “We can't have a state, we can't have a country without a secure wall."
The U.S. has had some form of a barrier along the southern border for years.
She then said, "We are a compassionate country, OK? We are a compassionate state. ... Some people, we are going to send back. No question about that. ... But I have met some of the greatest immigrants into our country."
Jenner endorsed Trump in the 2016 election but later renounced her support, writing in a 2018 Washington Post editorial, "I was wrong."
"The reality is that the trans community is being relentlessly attacked by this president," she wrote.
Despite her renouncement of Trump, a number of pro-LGBTQ groups have criticized Jenner and activists have spoken out against her entrance into the race for governor.
Jenner, the step-parent to the famous reality TV Kardashian clan who starred in her own reality show, could be the first of what many strategists believe will be a long line of celebrity and novelty candidates who could closely mirror those who ran during the 2003 recall election in California.
Action star Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, ultimately won that race with 49 percent of the vote, replacing the then-Democratic incumbent, Gov. Gray Davis.