Caitlyn Jenner Says She Supports Texas Abortion Law, DeSantis' COVID Strategy

Caitlyn Jenner, a candidate in the special California gubernatorial recall election, defended Texas' controversial law banning abortions after six weeks, while saying she is pro-choice, during an appearance on CNN Tuesday morning.

Jenner, a Republican who rose to fame as a gold-medal winning Olympian and through her appearances on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, said she believes states should be allowed to make their own laws, and she supports Texas' right to do so regarding abortion.

Texas passed a law that bans abortion after six weeks. Reproductive rights activists have slammed the law, saying it is an attempt to get around Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that mandates abortion rights in the United States. The law was signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and went into effect last Wednesday. It's one of the strictest abortion measures in the U.S., applying to cases of rape and incest—only making an exception for medical emergencies.

"I am for a woman's right to choose," Jenner said. "I am also for a state having the ability to make their own laws, and so I support Texas in that decision. That's their decision."

However, she said that if she were elected governor, she would not see "any changes" to California's laws regarding abortion.

CNN Host Brianna Keilar pushed back against her remarks, pointing out, "you are fine with the Texas law, even though you say that you support abortion rights, you are fine with a law that essentially outlaws abortion."

"They have the right in their state to do what they want to do," Jenner responded.

She also said she supports the way Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, even as he has received criticism over the state's high case number and death rate. Jenner previously praised DeSantis for the COVID-19 pandemic, calling him a "real" leader.

Keilar pointed out that the state leads the nation in COVID-19 deaths per capita and asked Jenner if that changes her perspective on the way he managed the pandemic. Jenner said she has been so focused on California that she has not been following the situation in Florida. Still, she said she believes DeSantis did well at the start of the pandemic.

"I think when the pandemic came out, I think he did a very good job," Jenner said. "There is that delicate balance between the science and the economy and public health. I think at the beginning he weighed it very well."

Jenner criticized California Governor Gavin Newsom over mandating shutdowns throughout the pandemic, saying it is the reason for the recall.

On September 14, California voters will decide whether or not to recall Newsom—and if he is recalled, who will replace him. For months, the race in solidly-Democratic California has looked closer than expected, with Newsom holding a narrow single-digit lead. Recent polls, however, have shown his lead growing.

A recent Trafalgar poll from September 2 to 4 showed him with nearly a double-digit lead. A poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California from August 20 to 29 found that he had a 19-point lead.

In the race to replace Newsom, Jenner has struggled to break through in polls, despite her high name recognition. The Trafalgar poll found that 1.3 percent of voters would select Jenner, and the PPIC poll similarly found her with one percent. The poll found conservative radio host Larry Elder leading the race, with many voters remaining undecided.

Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner defended the Texas abortion law and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on CNN Tuesday morning. Here, she speaks at an event in Venice, California on August 12. David McNew/Getty Images