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Caitlyn Jenner Says She Could Only Have Run for Office After Transitioning: 'I Can Be Myself Now'

·4-min read

Fox News Caitlyn Jenner

In her first major interview since announcing she'll challenge California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Caitlyn Jenner told Sean Hannity on Wednesday night that she didn't believe she could have run for public office prior to transitioning because of the burden of hiding her identity.

"You said to me that Bruce Jenner could not be doing this, what Caitlyn Jenner is doing, meaning running for governor," Hannity asked her. "What did you mean by that?"

"I'm just trying to be myself, and I can be myself now," Jenner, 71, replied. "I couldn't do it before because I had too many secrets."

But now, Jenner said — and specifically after her 2017 memoir — "I've got all my secrets out."

"I have no secrets anymore, and I just wake up and be myself all day," the Olympian and former Keeping Up with Kardashians star said. "But I still feel like I am doing the right thing. And that is the most important thing."

Jenner transitioned in 2015 after having discussions with her children and her pastor, she told Hannity, 59.

"I wasn't honest with myself, a lot of times not honest with other people. And that all changed when I finally had my final conversation with God," she said.

She referred to herself as a role model for young members of the transgender community during Wednesday night's interview, remarking on the historic nature of her campaign.

"I am running for governor of the state of California, who would ever thunk that?" she told Hannity. "We've never even had a woman governor."

Nonetheless, Jenner's campaign has faced early scrutiny from some in the LGBTQ community after she said she supported restrictions on transgender athletes participating in school sports that match their gender identity.

RELATED: How Caitlyn Jenner Has Described Her Politics as She Launches Campaign for Governor

Wednesday's interview with Fox News was the first extensive public comments since the former Olympic gold medalist launched her campaign last month.

Jenner is among a growing list of candidates vying to replace Newsom, who is facing a recall election later this year after Republicans gathered enough signatures across the state to try and force the Democratic leader out of office.

Newsom, 53, and his campaign have eyed Jenner as one of their biggest political threats in the election, given her profile.

Jenner told Hannity on Wednesday she agreed with many of the Trump administration's policies, although she disagreed with the former president's conservative stance on LGBTQ issues. She previously renounced her support for Trump, 74, in a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post and called him a "jerk" in an interview with PEOPLE last year.

She told Hannity on Wednesday she aligns more with Trump than current President Joe Biden, saying she hasn't "agreed [on] anything" with the latter.

RELATED: Caitlyn Jenner Releases First Her Campaign Video, Days After Controversial Transgender Comments

Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Caitlyn Jenner

"I am all for the wall," Jenner said about Trump's push while in office to build a massive wall along the U.S. southern border. "I would secure the wall."

She also said she is "100 percent behind" California police.

Her first campaign ad, released Monday, criticized Newsom's leadership amid the COVID-19 pandemic and made a broad promise to "restore and renew the California dream."

Her website outlines a pro-business, anti-tax and anti-regulation platform and she has positioned herself as an outsider and a "disruptor," in a state where conservatives have little sway.

Her website also says she could better manage California's housing issues and how it emerges from the pandemic.

"I came here with a dream 48 years ago to be the greatest athlete in the world," Jenner said in her ad. "Now I enter a different kind of race, arguably my most important one yet, to save California."

RELATED: California Candidate Calling Himself 'the Beast' Is Campaigning with a 1,000-Lb. Bear

"We need leaders who are unafraid to lead to new heights who are unafraid to challenge and to change the status quo," she said.

The recall election is expected to take place by the fall.

California's last recall, in 2003, ended with Arnold Schwarzenegger ousting incumbent Gray Davis.

Newsom has vowed to fight the Republican-led effort to remove him from office, less than one term into his tenure as governor.

"I am not going to take this recall attempt lying down," he said in March. "I'm going to fight because there's too much at stake in this moment."

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