Caitlyn Jenner Doesn't Want Donald Trump's Endorsement for Gubernatorial Campaign

Caitlyn Jenner does not want former President Donald Trump's endorsement for her gubernatorial campaign for California governor, she said during a Friday news conference.

The press conference was her first as a Republican candidate after deciding to enter the recall election that could determine whether California Gov. Gavin Newsom stays in office. Although she previously supported Trump in 2016, she has since been critical of him. When a reporter asked if she was looking for Trump's endorsement as a candidate, she said "no."

"I am a private citizen of the state of California, I have every right in the world to be able to run for this office and I am on the Republican side, obviously I'm on the Republican side," she added while explaining she has "conservative economic values."

"But don't put me in this box, like if you're in this box of 'you're a Republican, you have to think this way,'" she said in regards to the question on seeking Trump's endorsement.

"On the social issues, I'm an inclusive Republican. I'm inclusive to all people and so, to be honest with you, I don't fit in that box," she said. "I hope the Republican party comes to me and becomes more inclusive and hopefully I can become a part of that process."

Jenner confirmed that she has not spoken to Trump about her candidacy and that she is "more concerned about running for governor." She then noted she has criticized Trump's stance on LGBTQ and transgender issues.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner said she does not want former President Donald Trump's endorsement for her campaign for California governor. In this photo, Jenner attends the Open Hearts Foundation 10th Anniversary Gala at SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills on February 15, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Jenner held the news conference 77 days after announcing she was entering the recall election.

Meeting with reporters for just under 15 minutes, Jenner said she is a serious candidate in the Sept. 14 election and asserted she is leading the field of Republican candidates, even though no independent polling has been done that shows that.

"I'm here to win it," she said.

Jenner, who won the Olympic decathlon in 1976 and decades later became a reality TV star and came out as a transgender woman, said she is better known than any other GOP candidate and even Newsom, who has been in office more than two years.

"I have a tremendous advantage, obviously, because of name recognition," she said. "To be honest with you, I've been in a lot of races in my life, and I know how to win. I just keep working hard."

Jenner said she would spend the final month of the campaign on a bus tour of the state. She also said she would release her tax returns next week.

After an initial burst of publicity when she announced her candidacy on April 23, Jenner has faded from the campaign spotlight while other GOP candidates have sought to raise their profiles. They include San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and businessman John Cox, who was defeated by Newsom in 2018.

State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley entered the race last week, and conservative radio host Larry Elder is considering a run.

Jenner has anchored her campaign to televised media interviews, which have included embarrassing stumbles that highlighted her inexperience, including recently acknowledging she wasn't deeply versed in Newsom's latest budget.

Jenner's brief appearance before reporters was devoid of any detailed policy discussion. Jenner suggested building desalination plants to produce more water for the drought-ridden state but provided no specifics about when or where such plants could be built.

Her candidacy has brought a hostile reaction from some members and groups within the LGBTQ community, which frequently cited her ties to Trump.

Jenner criticized the Trump administration's reversal of a directive on transgender people's access to public school bathrooms. She also split with Trump after he said transgender people would not be allowed to serve in the U.S. military.

Caitlyn Jenner During News Conference
Caitlyn Jenner, who once supported former President Donald Trump, now wants to distance herself from him in her gubernatorial campaign. She's seen here explaining why during a news conference on Friday, July 9, 2021, in Sacramento. Noah Berger/AP Photo