It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Caitlyn Jenner’s recently launched campaign for governor of California hasn’t gone down well.
The former Olympian and reality TV star formally declared her candidacy for California’s highest office should a likely recall attempt against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom go ahead.
But since her announcement, Jenner has endured mounting criticism, particularly from LGBTQ people who are unhappy with the 71-year-old’s Republican politics, given her status as a transgender woman and support for anti-LGBTQ politicians, including twice-impeached former president Donald Trump.
Now, it has transpired that Jenner’s own children don’t support her campaign. TMZ reports that all of Jenner’s sons, Brandon, Brody, and Burt, are embarrassed by her campaign.
TMZ’s sources also said that Jenner’s sons don’t feel she is qualified to be governor, and that when Jenner called them the night before announcing her candidacy, they encouraged her to abandon the plan.
A separate source contradicted those claims, alleging that only one of Jenner’s sons, Burt, contacted her with concerns, related to her safety while campaigning. The source added that Jenner “feels she’s very qualified to run,” per TMZ.
Jenner’s stepdaughters have also reportedly distanced themselves from her campaign, with Kim Kardashian “disturbed” at a recent tweet by Jenner about California’s prison system, which Kardashian allegedly felt undermined the years of advocacy work she has done on behalf of prison reform.
Neither Kim nor her sisters Khloe and Kourtney have plans to endorse Jenner, TMZ reports, with her politics allegedly the reason for their reluctance — as well as Jenner’s divorce from their mother, Kris Kardashian.
Jenner has drawn criticism from high profile LGBTQ figures and organizations.
When she announced her campaign, Equality California tweeted: “Make no mistake: we can’t wait to elect a #trans governor of California. But @Caitlyn_Jenner spent years telling the #LGBTQ+ community to trust Donald Trump. We saw how that turned out. Now she wants us to trust her? Hard pass.”
The Human Rights Campaign’s Wyatt Ronan said Jenner was “not the leader California needs” after she announced her campaign.
“Her support of Donald Trump, the most virulent and vocal anti-LGBTQ president in American history, and her decision to hire Trump’s inner circle for her campaign are just two examples why,” he said.
In an op-ed for The Independent, transgender activist Charlotte Clymer called Jenner’s campaign “selfish.”
“I don’t care about Jenner’s candidacy because it’s clear she has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning, but I do care about the ways in which her asinine views will be weaponized against trans people and the ways in which transphobia will go unchecked,” Clymer wrote. “This is purely a vanity campaign, and it’s incredibly selfish.”
Clymer argued that LGBTQ organizations and advocates would have to “have to dedicate resources to defending Jenner when she inevitably encounters transphobia during her campaign, and we’ll be forced to clean up her mess when she gets it wrong on LGBTQ rights, as she so often does.”
“It’s bad enough that Caitlyn Jenner is deeply unqualified for any elected office, let alone Governor of California,” Clymer wrote. “It’s bad enough that she’s treated LGBTQ people — and especially the trans community — as an afterthought in her career since coming out. But worse than all of that, she has aligned herself with people who see us as less than human, solely for an adventure in narcissism and building her brand.”
She concluded: “To me, Caitlyn Jenner really only seems to care about Caitlyn Jenner, and the rest of us can go to hell.”
Despite concerns from LGBTQ people, Republican operatives have previously expressed hope that her name recognition, her “outsider” status as a non-traditional politician, and her focus on fiscal concerns tied with socially liberal views would make Jenner a more attractive candidate than a generic Republican, and could potentially help her attract support from independents and Democrats.
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also argued that she has a chance to win, saying he is “good friends” with her and has “the utmost respect for her.”
“Anyone has a chance because I think the people are dissatisfied with what is going on here in California,” Schwarzenegger said. “And I hope as many people as possible are jumping into the race.”
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